Sooners Illustrated will present three things to watch before every men’s basketball game during the 2015-16 season.
No. 24 Texas Longhorns (16-7, 7-3) at No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (19-3, 7-3)
TV/Radio: ESPN/107.7 FM
Time: 8 p.m.
Series: Oklahoma, 52-35
Can’t wait long
Oklahoma can’t wait long for a bounce back from the worst loss of the season Saturday – an 80-69 defeat on the road against Kansas State. The Sooners haven’t beaten the Wildcats in four straight trips to Manhattan, KS. Now, starting their most important week remaining this season, Oklahoma needs a quick recovery.
Oklahoma gets Texas on Big Monday. The Sooners haven’t wont a Big Monday game yet this season, losing twice on the road. They have beaten Texas in four of the last five games. The Longhorns haven’t won in Norman since 2012 – Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger’s first year.
The Sooners then get Kansas on Saturday, with Gameday scheduled to be on campus. After this week, Oklahoma plays only three more teams with a winning record in Big 12 Conference play – with six teams still to play.
“If you do not play well and if you get out-fought, you are probably not going to win games in the Big 12,” Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield said to reporters after the loss to Kansas State. “It is a tough lesson for us, but we will have to bounce back and play better.”
Since a conference-opening loss to Texas Tech, the Longhorns have won seven of the last nine, including victories on the road against Baylor and West Virginia and a home overtime win against Iowa State.
Woodard catching the Sooners’ cold
It’s been passed around, and it seems like guard Jordan Woodard has finally caught the Oklahoma cold.Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler had it first, but after Woodard’s zero-point performance against Kansas State, his struggles are becoming more obvious.
Only one other time in his career has Woodard failed to score a point: Last year at home against Kansas State.
The odds on favorite to win most improved player – not a real award – in the Big 12 Conference, Woodard has shot 4-for-21 over the last three games after shooting worse than 30 percent in Big 12 play only once before the cold spell.
Woodard has scored in single digits in only six games this season. Three have come in the last six games.
Hield has to find another way
Teams have done just about everything to slow down Hield, who is the second-leading scorer in the nation.
Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu found a way to keep Hield from going off – even though Hield scored more than 20 points for the 13th time in the last 16 games.
“Everybody gives me a tough time getting off shots,” Hield, who shot 43.8 percent from the field against the Wildcats, said Saturday. “. . . Everyone is going to make it tough for me. I just have to find a way to score the ball. I started attacking better late in the second half, and I should have done that earlier. I just have to do a better job.”
Hield is closing in one a couple milestones. He needs just five 3-pointers to become the first player in program history to hit 300 and already has more made 3-pointers than he did last year. He needs jus 13 to break Oklahoma’s single-season record of 105.