MBB Preview: Oklahoma vs. Kansas

The Sooners (15-12, 6-8) and #3 Jayhawks (25-4, 12-2) will tip-off at 8:05 p.m. tonight in Norman. Nate Carter (pictured) and fellow seniors Chris Walker, Mike Neal and Kellen Sampson will start and play in their final home game.

The Teams
Oklahoma (15-12, 6-8) vs. #3 Kansas (25-4, 12-2) -- 8:05 p.m. (CST) -- Lloyd Noble Center (12,000)

Tuesday's game will be televised nationally on ESPN and ESPNHD. Ron Franklin (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline) will call the action. The can be heard on the Sooner Radio network on KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City.

Radio Broadcast Info | Live Stats

The Matchup
Kansas into Monday night's game riding a six-game winning streak and hoping to keep their Big 12 regular season title hopes alive. On the other hand, Oklahoma is fighting for their postseason lives and hoping to end their four-game losing streak.

The Jayhawks are currently tied with Texas A&M at 12-2 atop the conference standings. The Sooners are tied with Missouri for sixth place at 6-8. KU's lone two Big 12 losses came at Texas Tech and at home to Texas A&M. They are 6-1 in Big 12 road games, while the Sooners are 5-2 at home.

Kansas may also be the most talented team the Sooners will see this season with four McDonald's All-Americans on their roster. Interestingly enough their leading scorer, Brandon Rush, was not a McDonald's All-American.

KU ranks second in the league in scoring (79.0) and third in scoring defense (59.7). They are also first in scoring margin (+19.3), blocked shots, rebounding, rebounding marging and defensive rebounding, and second in the league in field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, assists and steals.

Tonight's game also marks the final home game for seniors Chris Walker, Michael Neal, Kellen Sampson and Nate Carter, who will be honored in a ceremony before the game and each start, along with junior Longar Longar. will be honored before the game and start. It will be the first career start for Sampson.

Oklahoma Game Notes | Kansas Game Notes

The Series
The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 130-64 overall and 43-40 in Norman. They are the only Big 12 school to hold a series edge over Oklahoma. Kansas won the last meeting, 59-58, last season in Lawrence.

Jeff Capel on OU's seniors
"These guys have done so much for this program. First of all, they were in one of the toughest situations last April as a college athlete that you could be in when the coach that recruited you is no longer here. There's a lot of change with everything, not just with style of play, but with philosophy and change of personality.

"Most kids pick a school to play college athletics because of the coach. If it's not the sole reason, it's one of the major reasons why. And a lot of these guys — Nate, Chris Walker, Michael Neal and also Kellen — they picked this place because of coach Sampson.

"Kellen's a great kid. He really is. He's probably had the toughest transition of anyone just because of not only was it his coach (who left), it was his dad. Michael Neal was with Kelvin for a year, Chris Walker was him for a year, Nate Carter was with him for two and Kellen's been with him for however old he is. That's all he's known.

"I'm sure it was strange coming to the office and not seeing his dad. First practice, coming out and not having his dad walk through those doors. I know that's probably been very strange and very difficult for him, but he's such a great kid. And I think it shows his commitment to the University of Oklahoma by him wanting to stay here and finish out his playing career, and also getting his degree from here. I think that shows how much that means to him.

"I've admired the way they've (seniors) stuck to it and stuck with our basketball program throughout a very difficult time. They've worked very hard this year. It may not of resulted in great results all the time, but they've worked extremely hard and been a good example of how to work night in and night out. We're gonna miss those guys."

Oklahoma Projected Starters:
C -- 30 -- Longar Longar -- 6-11, 228, Jr. -- 11.2 ppg, 7.5 rbg, 1.4 bpg
F -- 24 -- Nate Carter -- 6-6, 220, Sr. -- 11.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
G -- 2 -- Michael Neal -- 6-3, 198, Sr. -- 10.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
G -- 1 -- Chris Walker -- 6-3, 192, Sr. -- 1.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.1 apg
G -- 11 -- Kellen Sampson -- 6-1, 186, Sr. -- 1.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg

More on the Sooners
Roster | 2005 Stats | Schedule/Results

Kansas Projected Starters:
C -- 24 -- Sasha Kaun -- 6-11, 245, Jr.. -- 6.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg
F -- 30 -- Julian Wright -- 6-9, 225, Fr. -- 11.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg
G -- 25 -- Brandon Rush -- 5-10, 155, So. -- 13.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg
G -- 15 -- Mario Chalmers -- 6-1, 195, So. -- 11.6 ppg, 3.1 apg, 3.1 rpg
G -- 4 -- Sherron Collins -- 5-11, 200, Fr. -- 10.0 ppg, 2.9 apg

More on the Jayhawks
Roster | Schedule/Results | Stats

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