Baylor (16-10) at Oklahoma (17-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) -- Norman, Oklahoma.
Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Baylor 11-4, OU 9-2. Away Record: Baylor 3-5,
OU 5-5. Neutral Record: Baylor 2-1, OU 3-1. Conference Record: Baylor 7-6, OU
8-5. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 38-10.
GAME NOTES: Attempting to halt a two-game slide, the Baylor Bears roll into
the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday afternoon for a Big 12 Conference clash
with the Oklahoma Sooners.
Despite its winning record both overall (16-10) and in the Big 12 (7-6),
Baylor has been trending in the wrong direction in recent weeks with losses in
five of its last seven games. After suffering an 81-61 defeat at the hands of
nationally-ranked Kansas State last Saturday, the Bears returned home on
Wednesday night only to fall to Iowa State, 87-82.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma has played well of late, bouncing back from a pair of
losses to open the month of February by winning three of four, most recently
dismissing Texas Tech on the road on Wednesday, 86-71. The Sooners sit a 17-8
overall and at 8-5 in conference, which has them two games out of first place
with five bouts left in the regular season.
Baylor swept Oklahoma in the season series during the 2011-12 campaign, but
the Sooners won the first matchup this year, 74-71, in Waco on Jan. 30, to
extend their lead in the all-time series to 38-10.
Baylor had a strong offensive performance earlier in the week, netting greater
than 48 percent of its field goal attempts, but it was bested by Iowa State,
which shot 54.2 percent from the floor and connected on 11 3-pointers. Pierre
Jackson was outstanding in defeat, shooting 13-of-19 from the field for 30
points while also dishing out eight assists. Cory Jefferson was strong in the
paint, tallying 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
On the season, the Bears own the Big 12's second-ranked scoring offense with
75.2 ppg, and while their scoring defense has been sound as well (64.8 ppg),
they have allowed 77.4 ppg in their last five losses. Jackson is making a case
for Big 12 Player of the Year, as he ranks first in scoring (18.9 ppg) and
assists (6.4 apg) while also logging 1.6 spg. Freshman center Isaiah Austin
not only does the dirty work down low (13.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg), but he can
also stretch the floor as evidenced by his 22 3-pointers. Jefferson has been
solid as well in the frontcourt with 12.2 ppg (.588 FG percentage), 8.3 rpg
and 2.0 bpg.
Oklahoma carried an eight-point lead into halftime against Texas Tech earlier
in the week, and its advantage was never in question from there. Not only did
the team shoot better than 53 percent from the field, with five players in
double figures, but it dominated the rebounding battle, 39-29, as well. Steven
Pledger was active from beyond the arc (6-of-13) on his way to 22 points,
while Romero Osby was a beast down low with 21 points and nine rebounds. Amath
M'Baye tallied 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Sam Grooms (12
points) and Cameron Clark (10 points) both contributed off the bench.
The Sooners rank in the middle of the pack in the Big 12 both in terms of
scoring offense (69.1 ppg) and scoring defense (64.1 ppg), and while their
numbers may not match up with the conference's elite, their +5.0 scoring
margin has been good enough to render the season a success thus far. Osby is
the catalyst, registering 14.2 ppg and 7.0 rpg while shooting better than 50
percent from the field. Pledger (11.3 ppg) is the top threat out on the
perimeter, especially with Buddy Hield (8.6 ppg) out with a broken foot.
M'Baye adds 10.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg to the mix.
In terms of pure talent, Baylor has Oklahoma's number, as it has some of the
league's premier playmakers both inside and out, but the Bears have been
sliding lately and they have been especially vulnerable away from home. The
Sooners don't do much to wow people, but they are efficient and fundamentally
sound, and at home, they should continue their strong late-season push.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 74, Baylor 71
02/23 10:42:42 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.