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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: OU 7-1, Baylor 9-2. Away Record: OU 3-3, Baylor 3-2. Neutral Record: OU 3-1, Baylor 2-1. Conference Record: OU 4-2, Baylor 5-1. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 37-10.
GAME NOTES: Two of the Big 12 Conference's best are set for a Wednesday night showdown, as the Baylor Bears entertain the Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma hasn't fared well away from home of late, dropping a pair of road games to nationally-ranked conference foes Kansas State (69-60) and Kansas (67-54). Even with their recent setbacks, the Sooners have been largely successful this season with a 13-5 overall record and a 4-2 mark in the Big 12.
Baylor is one of the hottest teams in the league, having won three straight and six of its last seven to move to 5-1 in conference play, which is good enough to sit alone in second place behind second-ranked Kansas. The Bears most recently traveled to TCU over the weekend and came away with a convincing 82-56 victory.
Baylor completed a season sweep of Oklahoma last season and has won five of the past seven matchups, but the Sooners still hold a comfortable 37-10 advantage in the all-time series.
The Sooners were overmatched by Kansas last Saturday, shooting less than 36 percent from the field while losing the rebounding battle by a 41-31 margin on their way to the 13-point defeat. Amath M'Baye and Romero Osby each poured in 12 points, but the two combined to shoot a lackluster 8-of-27 from the field. Steven Pledger added 10 points and a pair of steals in the setback. On the season, Oklahoma boasts a +6.6 scoring margin, but both its scoring offense (68.2 ppg) and scoring defense (62.6 ppg) rank in the lower-half of the league. Osby has been rock-solid in the low post, shooting 50.6 percent from the field for 14.4 ppg, while adding 6.4 ppg and nearly a block per game. He has also been an incredibly efficient free throw shooter for a big man, going 85-of-104 for the fourth-highest percentage in the conference (.817). Pledger (10.9 ppg), M'Baye (10.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Buddy Hield (9.4 ppg) can also be relied on consistently.
The Bears' road test over the weekend wasn't much of a hurdle to jump over, as they shot 47.4 percent from the field (including 11-of-19 from 3-point range) while holding TCU to a mere 33.3 percent shooting en route to the blowout victory. Pierre Jackson scored 20 points and dished out five assists, while Rico Gathers took advantage of 27 minutes off the bench with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his third-career double-double. Isaiah Austin tallied 18 points and six boards in the dominating effort, while Gary Franklin drilled all four of his long-range buckets for 12 points. Baylor boasts one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country, as it ranks second in the Big 12 in both field goal percentage (.462) and scoring offense (76.3 ppg), and it is led by the conference's top scorer in Pierre Jackson. The senior guard nets 18.7 ppg, leads the league in assists with 5.9 per contest, and logs 1.7 spg. Complementing Jackson is one of the most imposing forward duos in the country in Austin (14.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg) and Cory Jefferson (12.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.3 bpg).
Oklahoma hasn't had much luck against the league's top teams on the road, and it will once again have its hands full. Baylor's star power both inside and out on the perimeter will prove to be too much for the Sooners to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 76, Oklahoma 66
01/30 10:36:01 ET
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