#6 Kansas (20-4, 8-3) at #3 Oklahoma (20-3, 8-3)
When: Saturday, February 13th 2016
Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK
Time: 2:30 ET | TV: ESPN
The Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma Sooners meet in Norman Saturday just a little over a month removed from a thrilling triple-overtime contest in Lawrence that saw the Jayhawks pull it out 109-106. Each have played ten games since with Oklahoma winning eight and Kansas seven. Both teams are tied with West Virginia for the lead in the Big 12 Conference with the tiebreaker going to Kansas at the moment. The Jayhawks have won four games in a row after their 75-65 win over the Mountaineers on Tuesday. They were able to get through West Virginia’s pressure defense and dominant in the paint. Forwards Perry Ellis (21 points) and Landen Lucas (nine points, 16 rebounds, four blocks) fueled the win over West Virginia, while four of Kansas’ guards scored in double figures, as well. Frank Mason had 14 points but is 10-of-34 from the floor over the last four games and is looking to snap a five-game run of multiple-turnover games. The Jayhawks are fourth in the country in three-point shooting (42.2%) led by Brannen Greene (55.8%), Ellis (47.5%) and Wayne Selden Jr. (43.7%). Since scoring 33 points in an overtime win against Kentucky, Selden has totaled 21 points on 8-of-23 shooting in his last three outings, while Ellis is shooting 26-of-34 (76.5 percent) over that same stretch.
In the January 5th loss to Kansas, Buddy Hield did all he could with a career-high 46 points including eight three-pointers. Hield is having a terrific season with averages of 25.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, while shooting an even 50% from long-range. He has made multiple 3-pointers in 19 straight games including 17 in his last four games. Backcourt mates Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard combine for 26.9 points and each shoots better than 46 percent from the arc. Oklahoma rebounded from a poor loss at Kansas State last week that resulted in them losing their top overall ranking. The Sooners edged out a solid Texas squad 63-60 behind Hield’s 27 points. Cousins scored 17 as he and Hield were the only two to reach double-figures in points. Ryan Spangler (11.0 points, 9.8 rebounds) grabbed 10 boards and now has a streak of four in a row of multiple rebound games. While the Jayhawks rank fourth in three-point percentage, the Sooners are #1 at 45.1% led by Hield. Cousins, Woodard, and the little-used Christian James each shoot over 46%. Oklahoma will be in good shape with a win today as they will have split the season series and they already have a win over West Virginia with a date with them coming up next Saturday.
The winner of this game will be in good position for a number one seed in the Tournament, but there’s still a lot of basketball left to play. Today’s game won’t be as thrilling as the first, but I’m sure it will also come down to the wire. Kansas has dropped three of their last four on the road, while OU is undefeated at home this year. I’ll take the Sooners here today.
Pick: Oklahoma -4.5