Manhattan, KS (Sports Network) - Two of the top teams in the Big 12 Conference
meet in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, as the Oklahoma Sooners tangle with
the 16th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats.
Oklahoma has turned in a fine season to this point, logging wins in 12 of its
first 15 games, including all three of its conference bouts. The Sooners are
in the midst of a five-game win streak, with their most recent triumph coming
in an 81-63 final against visiting Texas Tech on Wednesday. OU has won three
of its four true road bouts, including a 67-57 decision at West Virginia in
the Big 12 opener on Jan. 5. Oklahoma's second-year head coach Lon Kruger is a
1975 graduate of Kansas State, and he is 4-2 all-time against his alma mater.
Kansas State has been slightly better than today's counterpart on the season,
going 14-2 while also winning its first three league affairs. The Wildcats are
on a seven-game win streak, having recently disposed of TCU on the road,
67-54, this past Wednesday. K-State is undefeated at home (10-0), while
Oklahoma is 3-1 in true road games and 6-2 outside of Norman all told.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 104-91, but the Wildcats
have won four of the last seven meetings. Still, it was the Sooners who had
the last laugh, claiming a 63-60 victory over the 'Cats late last January.
Oklahoma isn't an offensive juggernaut, but the team still averages close to
70 ppg in draining 42.4 percent of its field goal attempts, which includes a
32.5 percent effort from 3-point range. Romero Osby (13.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and
Steven Pledger (11.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg) are the only two players currently
averaging double digits in scoring for the Sooners, who instead rely on a more
balanced attack, as seven players average at least 5.9 ppg. Defensively, OU
permits just 61.6 ppg, with foes shooting a lackluster 40 percent from the
floor, which includes a 29.2 showing from beyond the arc. Osby scored 15 of
his 17 points in the second half, helping propel the Sooners past Texas Tech
earlier this week, thus allowing them to keep pace atop the Big 12 standings.
Buddy Hield added 16 points, Andrew Fitzgerald had 12, Pledger chipped in 11
and Cameron Clark finished with 10 for an Oklahoma squad that shot 47.5
percent from the field, but went just 3-of-11 from 3-point land. OU won the
game thanks to a 22-8 edge in points from the foul line, coupled with the fact
that the Red Raiders missed 17 of their 22 long-range launches.
Kansas State is basically putting up the same offensive numbers as Oklahoma,
but the team's defensive effort is what really sets it apart from most as
opponents are shooting just 39.2 percent from the field overall, which
includes a dismal 27.4 percent showing from 3-points range, and in turns
generates only 57.1 ppg, which ranks the Wildcats in the top-20 nationally in
average scoring yield. The team boasts just one double-digit scorer in the
form of Rodney McGruder (15.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg), and the 6-foot-4 senior is coming
off a 21-point performance in the recent win at TCU. No other player reached
double digits for KSU in that contest, and no other starter scored more than
seven points. Overall, the 'Cats made good on 48.2 percent of their field goal
attempts, knocking down 9-of-17 3-point tries along the way. They committed
only eight turnovers, and scored 20 points off of 12 TCU miscues. McGruder has
scored at least 17 points in four of the last five games.
The Sports Network