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Getting to know: Oklahoma basketball

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Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger questions a call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger questions a call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

On a six-game losing streak, including the first three games of Big 12 play, the Oklahoma Sooners look like a much, much different team than the Final Four squad last year.

The Sooners, playing without star point guard Jordan Woodard (leg injury), rank at the bottom of the Big 12 in several categories, including scoring offense and scoring defense heading into Tuesday's matchup against Kansas at 8 p.m. (ESPN 2).

In their three conference games (Baylor, at TCU, at Kansas State), the Sooners have lost by an average of 14.7 points. Oklahoma, ranked 75th in the KenPom rankings, doesn’t shoot the ball well as a team (44 percent) and hasn’t had much success on the defensive end.

Then there’s the issue of playing without Woodard, which has forced players to step into uncomfortable roles over the last four games.

“I think some guys individually are battling some confidence factors,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “We have to keep pushing and keeping working every day and stay positive.”

Interesting note: With a win, Kansas coach Bill Self will win his 400th game with the Jayhawks, becoming the third coach in school history to reach that milestone. Roy Williams had 418 wins and Phog Allen had 590.

Interesting note, part II: Self notched his 600th win of his career in early December. Kruger will likely become the next coach to pass the milestone, sitting four wins away at 596.

Series history: Kansas leads 144-66. The Jayhawks won both matchups last year, including the three-overtime classic in January at Allen Fieldhouse.

Vegas says: Kansas by 10.5.

OKLAHOMA STARTERS

No. 0 — G Darrion Strong-Moore | 6-1, 180, jr.

Oklahoma guard Darrion Strong-Moore (0) and Kansas State guard Kamau Stokes (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

Oklahoma guard Darrion Strong-Moore (0) and Kansas State guard Kamau Stokes (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

  • A transfer from Coffeyville CC, Strong-Moore is averaging 4.6 points and 1.9 assists through 14 games (one start). He’s shooting 25-of-54 from the floor (46 percent) and 14-of-32 from deep (44 percent). He’s dished 27 assists to 21 turnovers.

  • According to hoop-math.com, Strong-Moore avoids the mid-range jumper. He’s only taken 6.6 percent of his shots in that area this season, the second-lowest mark on the team.

  • His father, Adrian Moore, played basketball at Iowa State. But in a story from the Oklahoman, the two didn’t have a relationship until he was a teenager, which eventually prompted the addition his hyphenated last name.

  • In his first start Saturday against Kansas State, Strong-Moore scored 10 points with four assists and one turnover in 27 minutes.

  • QUOTE: “We’ll get there. It’s all about staying in the gym and listening to coach and doing what he wants,” Strong-Moore said.

No. 3 — G Christian James | 6-4, 218, soph.

None by Oklahoma Sooners

  • Played 17 minutes against Kansas last season, scoring seven points with four rebounds.

  • With Johnny Woodard sidelined, James has struggled with his shot. In the last four games, James is shooting 9-for-32 from the floor (28 percent) and 5-for-16 from deep (31 percent). The Oklahoman said he’s working through a hitch in his shot.

  • Throughout the season, he’s averaging 10.9 points on 48 percent shooting from the 3-point line.

  • According to hoop-math.com, James takes 34 percent of his shots at the rim, converting on 51 percent of those layup/dunk attempts.

  • QUOTE: “Lot of people say me and Buddy (Hield) play alike, but I think our games are totally opposite,” James said. “I think we just shoot the ball whenever we’re able to shoot the ball and knock down shots.”

No. 1 — G Rashard Odomes | 6-6, 212, soph.

Oklahoma guard Rashard Odomes (1) and Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

Oklahoma guard Rashard Odomes (1) and Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

  • From Copperas Cove High in Texas, Odomes is the first player in school history to play in a Div. I basketball program.

  • A left-handed slasher, Odomes is averaging 9.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 14 games. He’s shooting 47 percent from the floor, 61 percent from the free-throw line and has only attempted three 3-point attempts.

  • Odomes has attempted 83 percent of his shots at the rim, according to hoop-math.com, by far the highest mark on the team. He’s converted on 52 percent of those attempts.

  • His mother, Donna Stewart, is a retired Army first-class sergeant. His brother, Raheem, played at Sterling College in Kansas.

  • QUOTE: “Each game we come out confident,” Odomes said. “I feel like we have confident players that are working to try and get it done. Game after game we try to improve.”

No. 11 — F Kristian Doolittle | 6-7, 236, fr.

Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle (11) and Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle (11) and Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

  • The Edmond, Okla. native, from the same high school as Bill Self, Doolittle is averaging 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game. He has 12 steals and 15 assists.

  • In three of the past four games, Doolittle has scored at least seven points and grabbed six rebounds.

  • According to hoop-math.com, 48 percent of the shots that Doolittle takes are mid-range jumpers and only 38 percent are at the rim.

  • Won a high school state title during his freshman season alongside teammate Jordan Woodard. His older brother, Kameron, was a wide receiver for Oklahoma State.

  • QUOTE: “He’ll get more comfortable as we go,” Kruger said. “He’s got such a good skill set and good feel for the game. He’ll make a ton of progress with every game.”

No. 12 — F Khadeem Lattin | 6-9, 212, jr.

Oklahoma forward Khadeem Lattin (12) dunks as Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (0) and guard Manu Lecomte (20) watch during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Friday, Dec. 30, 2016

Oklahoma forward Khadeem Lattin (12) dunks as Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (0) and guard Manu Lecomte (20) watch during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Friday, Dec. 30, 2016

  • In two games against the Jayhawks last year, Lattin scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and grabbed 19 rebounds with seven blocks in 76 minutes.

  • Lattin — and his 7-foot-2 wingspan — is averaging 8.4 points and 5.6 rebounds this season in 23.4 minutes per game. He leads the Sooners with 26 offensive rebounds, 27 blocks and 23 steals.

  • He’s off to a slow start in Big 12 play, averaging six points and 4.3 rebounds in the last three games.

  • His mother, Monica Lamb, played college basketball at Houston and USC before playing in the WNBA for the Houston Comets. His grandfather, David “Big Daddy” Lattin was a starter on the famed Texas Western team that beat Kentucky in the 1966 NCAA title game.

  • QUOTE: “It’s just our overall play,” Lattin said. “We can’t blame a specific play or a specific player or anything like that. It’s just we have to figure out what it takes to figure out these games and we’ve got to figure it out ASAP.”

OKLAHOMA BENCH

No. 20 — G Kameron McGusty | 6-5, 191, fr.

None by Oklahoma Basketball

  • A freshman from Sunrise Christian Academy near Wichita, McGusty is averaging 7.1 points on 42 percent shooting (34 percent from deep) in 14 games off of the bench.

  • He scored a season-high 20 points in Saturday’s loss at Kansas State. It was the fourth time he’s scored in double figures this year.

  • His father, Kerol, played college basketball at Stephen F. Austin.

  • QUOTE: “I’ve been picking and choosing my spots very well. So have my teammates," McGusty said. "We’ve just been doing a good job of swinging the ball and, at this point, it’s all about hitting shots. We have a lot of guys on the team stepping up and hitting shots.”

No. 4 — C Jamuni McNeace | 6-10, 215, soph.

Oklahoma center Jamuni McNeace (4) shoots over Baylor forward Terry Maston (31) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Baylor won 76-50.

Oklahoma center Jamuni McNeace (4) shoots over Baylor forward Terry Maston (31) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Baylor won 76-50.

  • McNeace is only averaging 15.9 minutes per game, but he ranks second on the squad with 18 blocks, third with 21 offensive rebounds and third with 39 personal fouls. He’s averaging 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds.

  • Only started playing organized basketball during his sophomore year of high school. He was cut from his school’s freshman team, but grew from 5-10 his freshman year to 6-7 by the end of his sophomore year.

  • He only played three minutes against Kansas last year, missing two free throws and grabbing an offensive rebound.

No. 13 — G Jordan Shepherd | 6-2, 180, fr.

Oklahoma guard Jordan Shepherd (13) brings the ball up as Baylor guards Ishmail Wainright (24) and Manu Lecomte (20) defend during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016.

Oklahoma guard Jordan Shepherd (13) brings the ball up as Baylor guards Ishmail Wainright (24) and Manu Lecomte (20) defend during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016.

  • A freshman out of Asheville, N.C., Shepherd averages 4.2 points and 1.6 assists in 14.6 minutes per game. He’s made four starts this year.

  • He’s shooting 45 percent from the floor (20 of 44). According to hoop-math.com, he only takes 24 percent of his shots at the rim.

  • Originally committed to James Madison, but reopened his recruitment after a coaching change prior to signing with Oklahoma.

No. 5 — F Matt Freeman | 6-10, 224, r-fr.

Oklahoma forward Matt Freeman (5) is stripped of the ball by Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

Oklahoma forward Matt Freeman (5) is stripped of the ball by Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

  • The New Zealand native redshirted he second semester last season after enrolling in January 2016. He enrolled late because the New Zealand school system ends in November.

  • Averaging 4.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 14 games (two starts). Primarily a 3-point shooter, Freeman is 14-of-32 from deep.

  • He landed on the radar of many college basketball programs after averaging 17.8 points at the 2015 Adidas Global Nations in California.

  • QUOTE: “I think all New Zealanders who have any potential to be good at basketball are going to be compared to Steve Adams, just because he's the New Zealand god of basketball,” he said.

No. 10 — G Jordan Woodard | 6-0, 187, sr.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) drives against Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard (10) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) drives against Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard (10) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

  • Woodard has missed the last four games with a leg injury. Lon Kruger told reporters on Monday that he returned to practice but won’t be available against Kansas.

  • Averaging 17.6 points and 5.2 rebounds through 10 games while shooting 43 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

  • Against KU last year, Woodard scored 37 points on 12-of-32 shooting in 80 minutes with 11 assists.

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