NORMAN — The Big 12 Conference has turned into a race for second place. Kansas has wrapped up at least a share of the regular season title and will claim it outright with a win over Oklahoma State on Saturday or with a win over Texas Tech and West Virginia next week.
The Sooners (20-8, 9-6 Big 12) are tied for fourth with Kansas State, but their meeting with No. 24 Texas (21-7, 10-5) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center will have a huge impact on how the Big 12 race finishes and the seeding for the conference tournament.
Heading into Saturday, Iowa State and Texas are tied for second. If OU were to beat Texas on Saturday and win its final two games against West Virginia and TCU, it would head to Kansas City, Mo., as no worse than the fourth seed. A win over Texas would give it the tiebreaker against it. The Sooners were swept by Kansas and split with Iowa State and Kansas State.
However, OU coach Lon Kruger would not look that far ahead on Thursday.
“It’s so jumbled right now. We’re getting into the later stages of conference, and the seeding starts taking shape a little more clearly and the resumes everyone is trying to build for at-large opportunities (for the NCAA tournament).” he said, “But still as we’ve done 15 times up until this point, all you can do is focus on the next ball game. Our guys have done a really good job of that and Texas presents a big challenge.”
Neal and Clark will be honored Saturday: OU will honor seniors Tyler Neal and Cameron Clark prior to Saturday’s game.
The game is not the home finale. OU will host West Virginia at 8 p.m. Wednesday. OU coach Lon Kruger has always held the ceremony in conjunction with the final weekend home game because it is easier for the players’ families to attend.