The Sooners believe they’ve become a better team since the last meeting. Saturday’s win over Kansas State was their seventh in the last 10 games. They’re still in solid position to finish second in what’s considered college basketball’s best conference because they’ve made adjustments.
Cameron Clark, who matched a career-high with 32 points in the previous meeting against Kansas, ripped down eight rebounds Saturday against the Wildcats. It was his second straight game with at least eight. OU finished the day with a 32-to-28 rebounding edge in a game where Ryan Spangler, the Big 12’s best rebounder, pulled down just two. The Sooners no longer rely on Spangler to handle all of the rebounding duties.
OU has become a better defensive team since it last played Kansas. It allowed Kansas State to shoot 50 percent from the field Saturday. But OU took its foot off the gas with about 10 minutes left in that game.
“That’s what we’re going to have to do,” Clark said. “Whether we like it or not, that’s what we’re going to have to do to win games. Coach (Lon Kruger) has been preaching that.”
Winning at Kansas is going to require a near perfect performance. The Jayhawks are 7-0 at Allen Fieldhouse in Big 12 play this season. Their showdown with the 19th-ranked Longhorns Saturday quickly turned ugly, finishing in a 85-54 Kansas win — its fourth consecutive home win by double digits.
Nonetheless, the Sooners are embracing one of their biggest opportunities of the season. A loss would hurt, but it’s minute compared to what a win could do for OU going into the postseason.
“I think it should be fun up there,” OU guard Buddy Hield said.
Follow me @john_shinn
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.