Full-court press: Kansas State

Sooners riding high into matchup with struggling Wildcats

Sooners Illustrated will present three things to watch before every men’s basketball game during the 2014-15 season.

Kansas State (8-7, 1-1 Big 12) at No. 16 Oklahoma (11-3, 2-0)

When: 6:05 p.m. CST

TV/Radio: ESPNU/107.7 FM(OKC); 1430 AM (Tulsa); Sirius 84; XM 84

Series: Oklahoma, 105-94

Managing the high

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said immediately after the Sooners’ big victory against No. 10 Texas that the goal moving forward to was to fight human emotion: Continue to get better and not think Oklahoma is unbeatable.

Whether by like mindedness or just enough preaching from Kruger, Oklahoma’s players have taken up that rallying cry.

“Stay aggressive, make sure we don’t think crazy thoughts and not look at a team the way we did Texas,” Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler said. “Come prepared every day and work hard. . . . It’s tough to not think about it. You can think about it, you just can’t let human nature take over and slack off during the game. That’s what coach has been harping to us.”

The Sooners face a down-trodden Kansas State team that had been struggling thus far this season. However, the Wildcats just knocked off TCU, which had just one loss before Wednesday night.

“We know we’re a really good team,” Spangler said. “We also know the last two years, we’ve been beat in the tournament, and we’ve been beat in the Big 12. Anybody can beat us, so we can’t slip up.” Oklahoma faces the challenge of keeping focus on a less-than-stellar squad with a trip to West Virginia and a matchup with Kansas on the immediate horizon, sandwiching a Bedlam matchup at home.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” Oklahoma point guard Jordan Woodard said. “We’ve had a tough two opponents to start of league play. We came out and executed. I feel like we still have a long way to go, but I feel like we got off to a good start.”

There’s history here

Kruger might be the coach at Oklahoma, but his school might still be Kansas State.

The current man leading the Sooners played at Kansas State and coached there for four years. He was a two-time Big Eight Player of the Year.

Oklahoma assistant Steve Henson played for Kruger in Manhattan, KS and still holds the school record for career assists, assists per game, free percentage, minutes per game, starts, consecutive games and consecutive starts.

Back in the friendly confines of the LNC

Lloyd Noble Center has been quite good to Oklahoma this season. The Sooners were a perfect 7-0 at home in the non-conference season and won by more than 20 points per game.

Meanwhile, Kansas State has yet win a true road game, having gone 0-3.

Kansas State is the lowest-scoring team in the Big 12 Conference with just 66.2 points per game. Oklahoma is allowing just 58.9 points per game this season but only 56.3 points at home.

Oklahoma has allowed more than 63 points just once at Lloyd Noble Center this season.

“It hasn’t changed so much, we’re just trying to put it together now and put it all on defense as well as offense,” Woodard said. “I feel like we have a great balance this year. We have so many scorers on offense that it’s just going to come naturally. We’ve been focusing and locking in on the defensive end.”

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