Setting the stage: OU at Kansas

OU returns to Big Monday with a huge task as Sooners look to become first conference team to beat Kansas in Lawrence.

With OU firmly entrenched in its Big 12 conference play, is going to preview each of the Sooners conference games.

Oklahoma (20-7, 9-5) at Kansas (21-6, 12-2)

When: 8 p.m. CST

Last game: The Sooners played arguably their most complete conference game of the season in an 86-73 victory against Kansas State. As good as OU was, KU was even better in a statement-making 85-54 blowout win against Texas.

What to watch for: Anytime you play in a hostile environment like Allen Fieldhouse, the bench is going to be huge. So many times the production from the bench takes a dip when you leave the home arena. OU needs contributions from Tyler Neal and Je'lon Hornbeak and others in order to pull off the upset.

Saturday was an incredibly positive sign for guards Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard. Both were productive and efficient. When Woodard hits his first couple of shots, he relaxes and the rest of his game comes so easy to him. He starts setting up his teammates and it's a cohesive group out there for the Sooners.

OU has made up for its lack of size with the way it pushes the ball and gets out in transition, but it's going to be imperative for Ryan Spangler to stay out of foul trouble. It also won't be something that will be easily done with the size the Jayhawks have in comparison to the Sooners.

Scouting the Jayhawks: They're good. They're talented, and oh yeah, they're good. KU is one of the few teams that can have an incredibly off night but still manage to make the plays necessary to earn a win.

A brutal nonconference slate has served them well as the Jayhawks have set themselves apart from the rest of the schools in the Big 12. Already with a win at OU last month when KU was supposedly struggling, Jayhawks look for the season sweep.

The talk is always going to surround freshmen stars Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. Both, on multiple occasions, have shown why everybody is so high on them. But if you think KU is just a two-man team, think again. Between Naadir Tharpe, Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden, each bring their own skills that make this such a talented and scary team looking ahead to the NCAA tournament.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories