Kansas State (18-8) at Oklahoma (19-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (11,562) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: ESPN Full Court, ESPN3. Home Record: KSU 14-1, OU 11-3. Away Record: KSU 1-5, OU 4-3. Neutral Record: KSU 3-2, OU 4-1. Conference Record: KSU 8-5, OU 8-5. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 104-94.
GAME NOTES: Two of the three teams tied for third in the Big 12 Conference standings will collide on Saturday as the Kansas State Wildcats play the Oklahoma Sooners at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Kansas State notched its third win in four outings on Wednesday as it downed TCU, 65-53, in Manhattan. The Wildcats have gone just 1-5 in true road tests and lost their last five road games. Coach Bruce Weber's team has still managed to exceed expectations despite the road woes and could be headed to its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Wildcats have held their opposition to a Big 12-low 63.2 ppg, but rank ninth in the conference in scoring offense at 69.2 ppg.
Coach Lon Kruger's Sooners defeated Oklahoma State, 77-74, in Stillwater last Saturday to rise to a 19-7 overall standing. Oklahoma will now look to improve upon its 11-3 record at the Lloyd Noble Center and try to separate itself from Iowa State and the visitors in the Big 12 race. The Sooners have one of the most explosive attacks nationally, ranking 13th with 82.7 ppg. Oklahoma is also second among Big 12 schools with 6.9 steals per outing.
This will be the second meeting this season and 199th in history between these programs on the hardwood. The Wildcats defended their home floor on Jan. 14 and edged Oklahoma, 72-66, on Jan. 14 last month. The Sooners still own a 104-94 all-time series lead, including a 59-26 advantage in Norman.
Although KSU has struggled offensively as a unit, freshman guard Marcus Foster has thrived en route to a team-high 15 ppg. The rookie guard struggled in his last outing, finishing 4-of-16 from the floor for 13 points which he accompanied with six assists. Junior forward Thomas Gipson picked up the slack as he recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards. Starting guard Will Spradling (8.2 ppg, 1.3 spg) continued his solid senior campaign with 10 points and three assists. Gipson (11.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Shane Southwell (10.4 ppg, 3.1 apg) are regular contributors on the offensive end for the Wildcats, but Weber does not have much talent to utilize down the line.
The Sooners have knocked down 41.2 percent of their 3-point field goal tries in their 14 home games this season. They took their efficiency from the perimeter with them to Stillwater last weekend and finished 12-of-29 from beyond the arc to clip the Cowboys. Buddy Hield accounted for five of the makes from behind the 3-point line and produced a team-best 22 points. Hield had plenty of support as Frank Booker provided a spark off the bench with 15 points, while Tyler Neal chipped in 13 points in 19 minutes of action. Ryan Spangler registered a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Hield and Cameron Clark form a dangerous one-two punch for Oklahoma, averaging 16.7 and 15.4 ppg, respectively. Spangler is pacing the team on the glass with 9.9 rpg.
Oklahoma needed a late surge to escape its visit to OSU with the triumph. KSU has been less than spectacular on the road, but it is playing with a boat load of confidence as of late. The Wildcats, who held the Sooners to a 7-of-23 clip from 3-point range in the first meeting, could survive their trip to Norman if they control the tempo and convert at the charity stripe.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 74, Oklahoma 70
02/22 10:18:51 ET