Sooners hope to have a healthier Price vs. Cal

Sooners, Bears will play for a spot in the Sweet 16 Saturday afternoon in Oklahoma City. Senior guard Hollis Price (pictured left), who is still not 100 percent after suffering a groin injury last week, is still expected to play. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m at the Ford Center.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — With or without a healthy Hollis Price, there is still an important basketball game to play for top-seeded Oklahoma.

Oklahoma (25-6) and California (22-8) will battle for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. inside the Ford Center. But the big question on Friday was how healthy is the Sooners' senior guard.

"I'm alright," said Price after Friday's practice. "It gets better everyday. I can take more pain then I could three days ago."

"A groin injury all depends on how it is that day," said Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "Hollis is going to play. I'll play him until he can't go or he says so."

Price, who injured his groin during last Sunday's Big 12 Tournament Championship game against Missouri, played only 11 minutes in OU's first round win on Thursday.

"I think he's 70-75 percent now," said OU Trainer Alex Brown on Friday. "We've got about 24 more hours."

California, a No. 8 seed, advanced to Saturday's East region second round matchup against the Sooners with a thrilling 76-74 overtime win over North Carolina State. Senior forward Joe Shipp led the Bears with 24 points.

"Shipp has really come a long way," said Sampson. "We get the Fox channel out here so I've seen California play three or four times. I know a lot about Brian Wethers and Joe Shipp."

"Shipp is really a scoring machine," Sampson continued. "Out of high school people thought Wethers would be a better player than Shipp. Shipp has really turned into a dynamite scorer."

California and Oklahoma do have some history. The two played in the Top of the World Classic Championship game back in November of 1999 when Price, Shipp and Wethers were freshmen. Oklahoma won the game 75-58.

"Hollis is the only kid on our team that was on that team," said Sampson. "Matter of fact, me and Hollis are the only ones that are still here."

The Series
Oklahoma leads the series with Cal, 2-1, including a 75-58 win in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Nov. 21, 1999. OU also won, 94-72, on Dec. 20, 1965 in Norman, and Cal prevailed, 108-81, on Dec. 5, 1966 in Berkeley.

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