Sooners’ Capel challenges Jayhawks

OU coach: Let’s see Kansas play us

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oklahoma basketball coach Jeff Capel grew a bit defensive when asked about the Sooners’ recent slump, which has included three losses in five games.

He reminded reporters that Blake Griffin missed half of a 73-68 setback at Texas and all of a 87-78 home loss to Kansas University because of injury.

“You take Sherron Collins off Kansas, and let’s see them beat Texas,” Capel said in an article in the Denver Post. “Let’s see them (Jayhawks) come down here and play us when we’re fully healthy.”

Capel’s challenge will be accepted by the Jayhawks if they and the Sooners are able to win two games apiece and advance to Saturday’s finals of the Big 12 tournament at Oklahoma City’s Ford Center.

“I’d like to get another chance to play them,” KU junior guard Sherron Collins said. “We knew people were going to say that if we won (it was because Griffin was sidelined with concussion). It happened. He wasn’t able to play, which wasn’t our fault. I’d like to meet them again.”

First things first.

KU will meet either Baylor or Nebraska in a first-round tourney clash at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. A victory would propel KU into a 6 p.m. Friday matchup against either Texas, Colorado or Kansas State. Finals are 5 p.m. Saturday.

“We know anybody can beat anybody in this tournament,” Collins said.

Top-four seeds KU, OU, Missouri and Kansas State receive first-round byes Wednesday.

“I think we still don’t get the respect we’re supposed to get,” Collins said, aware many pundits are picking a healthy Griffin and his Sooners to win the event. “We’re not even the favorite, and we just won the conference. It’s our motivation. Nobody thinks we’re supposed to win. It’s what we’re going to try to do.

“We won the conference championship. Nobody gave it to us. It’s not like it was placed in our hands. We’ve got the best record . We were the best team in the (Big 12) regular season.”