Oklahoma (13-4) at (3) Kansas (17-1)
Saturday, January 26, 4 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) -- Lawrence, Kansas. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Oklahoma 7-1, Kansas 11-0. Away Record: Oklahoma 3-2, Kansas 4-0. Neutral Record: Oklahoma 3-1, Kansas 2-1. Conference Record: Oklahoma 4-1, Kansas 5-0. Series Record: Kansas leads, 138-64.
GAME NOTES: The third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks will put a couple of lengthy win streaks on the line on Saturday, as they welcome the Oklahoma Sooners to Lawrence, for a Big 12 showdown at the Allen Fieldhouse.
Bill Self's Jayhawks own the nation's longest current win streak at 16 games, while sporting the second-longest homecourt winning streak in the nation, now standing at 32 games. Kansas is 17-1 overall and a perfect 5-0 in Big 12 play following a hard-fought 59-55 road win at nationally-ranked Kansas State on Tuesday.
Lon Kruger's second season in Norman has been solid, with the Sooners coming into this contest with a 13-4 overall mark. Oklahoma is only a game behind the Jayhawks in the conference standings at 4-1. The team has won six of its last seven games, including a 73-67 decision over Texas on Monday.
This series dates back to 1920 with Kansas holding a decisive 138-64 advantage all-time. The Jayhawks have won each of the last nine meetings regardless of the venue and 11 straight at the Allen Fieldhouse.
Romero Osby was unstoppable earlier in the week in the win over Texas, as he converted 9-of-15 shots from the floor and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line to tally a career-high 29 points. Amath M'Baye added 15 points, while Buddy Hield finished with 12. Oklahoma shot a solid .481 from the floor in the game and outscored the Longhorns 21-7 at the free-throw line.
Osby has really picked up the pace over the last 10 games, shooting better than 50 percent from the floor in each outing and averaging just under 17 points per game. His recent surge has Osby sitting atop OU's scoring list at a solid 14.5 ppg. He is also the team's top rebounder, grabbing 6.5 caroms per contest. Offensive support comes in the form of Steven Pledger and M'Baye, who net 11.0 and 10.2 ppg, respectively.
The Jayhawks have shown the ability to win games at either end of the floor this season and needed a strong defensive game to get it done in Manhattan this week. Kansas held the Wildcats to just .351 shooting and it was certainly needed, as the Jayhawks' 59 points marked the lowest for the team in a victory since 2010. Travis Releford led the way at the offensive end with 12 points. Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey finished with 11 points apiece. One of the more productive big men in the league, Withey completed his seventh double-double of the season with 10 rebounds.
Balance has been key for Kansas this season, with the team boasting of a +16.0 scoring margin. Efficiency has also been an asset, with the squad shooting a healthy .482 from the floor. McLemore has made an immediate impact, as the redshirt freshman is shooting .510 from the floor, .446 from behind the arc (33-of-74) and leading the team in scoring at 16.1 ppg. Withey has been a perfect complement with his low-post dominance, averaging 13.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game. Releford (12.9 ppg) and Elijah Johnson (9.6 ppg, 4.9 apg) are vital contributors as well.
Despite the surprising play of the Sooners this season, it is hard to imagine Kansas losing at home in this one. The Jayhawks are set for another conference run and could give themselves some breathing room in the race here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 74, Oklahoma 61
01/26 10:31:48 ET