Getting to know: Oklahoma basketball
After getting through a two-game road stretch unscathed, the Kansas men’s basketball team is set to return to Allen Fieldhouse for two games in three days.
The Jayhawks, who are ranked No. 3 in the nation, will square off with Oklahoma on Saturday before welcoming Iowa State to town on Monday. Even without starting point guard Devon Dotson, Kansas (21-3, 10-1 Big 12) claimed the first meeting against OU with a 66-52 victory on Jan. 14.
Since falling to the Jayhawks at home, the Sooners (16-8, 6-5 Big 12) have won five of their last eight games. Oklahoma has recorded back-to-back wins over West Virginia (69-59) and Iowa State (90-61) entering this matchup.
Kansas, meanwhile, has won nine games in a row since falling to Baylor at home. With a win on Saturday, KU can post a win streak of 10 games or longer for the 17th time in the Bill Self era. According to KenPom, Kansas has a 90% chance of victory with a projected 74-60 win.
The Jayhawks lead the overall series with the Sooners, 149-68, including a 49-7 clip in Allen Fieldhouse.
Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m.
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BREAKING DOWN OKLAHOMA
No. 35 — F Brady Manek | 6-9, 231, jr.
During Big 12 play, Manek has been one of the top 3-point shooters.
Manek has made a conference-best 34 triples (3.1 per game) at a Big 12-leading 47.2% clip. It is the biggest reason why Manek is second in the league in scoring during Big 12 play with 16.3 points per game.
For the season, Manek is tied with TCU’s Desmond Bane for the most triples in the conference with 64 or an average of 2.7 per game. Owning 180 career 3-pointers, Manek already ranks eighth in OU history for made 3-pointers.
No. 21 — F Kristian Doolittle | 6-7, 232, sr.
Doolittle has come out of a little slump to help the Sooners win back-to-back games.
Doolittle has strung together a pair of dominant performances by scoring 27 against West Virginia and 20 against Iowa State. The 47 combined points over his last two outings comes after Doolittle scored a total of 36 points over the previous five games.
In addition, Doolittle ranks seventh in the conference in scoring (15.0 points) and third in rebounding (9.0 boards). Doolittle is one of only three major-conference players averaging at least 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
No. 12 — G Austin Reaves | 6-5, 202, r-jr.
Reaves has been one of Oklahoma’s leading offensive weapons during his first season with the team.
Reaves sat out the 2018-19 season after transferring to Oklahoma from Wichita State University. Reaves has hit the ground running , as he averages 14.2 points per game to rank 11th in the Big 12 and third among newcomers.
Reaves has reached 20 points on five occasions this season, including a career-high 23 points against UTSA on Nov. 5 and at Creighton on Dec. 17.
MEET THE COACH
The Sooners are coached by Lon Kruger, who is 176-113 in his ninth season at OU and 655-417 in his 34th season overall.
ONE THING OU IS GOOD AT
The Sooners won’t cough up the rock much in this showdown in Allen Fieldhouse. Oklahoma’s turnover rate of 15.4% ranks 11th in the nation, according to KenPom.
ONE THING OU IS BAD AT
Kansas should have the advantage on the glass, as Oklahoma has struggled to collect missed shots. According to KenPom, the Sooners rank 321st in the nation with an offensive rebound rate of 22.5%.
Before looking at the line, I was convinced that I would be taking the points in this one. I assumed it would be close to 14 or 15 points, similar to KenPom’s projection, and that seemed like a lot given KU could have a letdown after a big road win at West Virginia just a few days ago.
With Kansas being favored by just 11 points on FanDuel’s Sportsbook, however, that is enough to change my pick. Kansas won by 14 on the road on Jan. 14, and the rematch in Allen Fieldhouse should be just as easy.
Prediction: Kansas 73, Oklahoma 60
This year’s record ATS: 13-10