Tuesday features a battle of Big 12 teams when the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (22-7, 11-5 in the Big 12) travel to the Lloyd Noble Center to take on the Oklahoma Sooners (18-11, 6-10 in the Big 12). This will be the second time these two have met this season, with Kansas winning at home in the first matchup, 70-63. In that contest, guard Devon Dotson led the way with 16 points and 5 rebounds while Dedric Lawson had 13 points and 15 rebounds. For the Sooners, Brady Manek led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. In that contest, though, Kansas still had Udoka Azubuike and LaGerald Vick, who they are currently without. The contest Tuesday is scheduled for 9:00 pm ET.
Coming into this one, Kansas has won 5 of their last 6 games. Their lone loss was against No. 8 Texas Tech. In that stretch, they beat No. 18 Kansas State and in their most recent matchup beat Oklahoma State 72-67 on Saturday. While Kansas has had a bit of an inconsistent season, they can still be dangerous on any given night. For the Sooners, they come into this one having won 3 of their last 5. In that stretch, they did lose to both Baylor and Iowa State but beat West Virginia 92-80 in their last contest at home.
In this contest, the Kansas Jayhawks come in as 1-point favorites despite playing on the road. The over/under for this game is set at 124 points.
By The Numbers
Offensively, Kansas comes in at 99th in the nation in scoring, averaging 75.9 points per game. They are especially efficient in their shooting, as their field goal percentage as a team is 46.9% (good for 57th overall). For Oklahoma, they come in at 236th in the nation, averaging 70.7 points per game.
Defensively, it is the Oklahoma Sooners that come in as the better team. They currently rank 89th in the nation, allowing just 68.1 points per game to opponents. Oklahoma is especially tough against opposing shooters, allowing opponents to shoot just 40.1% from the field (good for 22nd in the country). Kansas is not too bad either on defense. They currently rank 138th in scoring defense, allowing just 69.9 points per game.
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For coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks, it has been a somewhat bumpy road, but they still have a dangerous team when clicking. With the NCAA tournament rapidly approaching, the Jayhawks are looking to put it all together when it matters most.
Leading the way for the Jayhawks this season is junior forward Dedric Lawson. On the season, Lawson is averaging 19 points per game on 49.1% shooting. He is averaging a double-double this season as he is bringing down 10.4 rebounds per game to go along with the points. He is also averaging 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1 block per game.
With Lagerald Vick and Udoka Azubuike out for the Jayhawks, the only other player averaging double-digits is guard Devon Dotson. This season he is averaging 11.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
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For the Oklahoma Sooners’ Lon Kruger, he knows that his team could use some big wins at the end of the season to help cement a place in the field of 64. A win over Kansas would certainly help.
Leading the way for Kruger’s squad this year is senior guard Christian James. On the season, James is averaging 15.1 points on 41.5% shooting. He is also averaging 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
Aside from James, the Sooners have two other players averaging double-digits. Both forward Brady Manek (11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds) and forward Kristian Doolittle (10.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists) have had really solid seasons thus far.
Kansas Wins On The Road
Despite their 18-11 record, I actually think that Oklahoma has a shot at this one. Their defense is tough, and Christian James is really solid. Plus, they played them relatively close earlier in the season at Kansas while the Jayhawks still had Lagerald Vick and Udoka Azubuike. With that in mind, it could be a really close game and Oklahoma could upset, but I still think the smart money is on Kansas at -1. Even though they have had times of inconsistency, they also show flashes that make you believe they are the real deal. Also, even in Azubuike and Vick’s absences, they have had others like Quentin Grimes elevate their games. For my money, I am taking Kansas -1.