NORMAN — Oklahoma’s displayed a lot of positive traits this season. One of the best has been its poise. It has been through a lot of tough situations and tough environments and handled it well.
The 25th-ranked Sooners have shown that rare ability to play at the same level no matter whether they’re at home or on the road.
But at 8 p.m. tonight at Lloyd Noble Center the Sooners (16-4, 5-2 Big 12) will be in a different environment when they face No. 11 Oklahoma State (16-3, 4-2).
“Guys go to schools to play in games like this,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “Every game is important and significant, but when you get a little more hype, an in-state rival and the impact it will have on conference standings from a game like this, the enthusiasm and fan interest makes it exciting.”
The outside factors are the things the Sooners haven’t faced much of this season. They’re off to their best start since the 2008-09 season — a team that reached the Elite Eight. But OU has still played in front of small crowds at home and on the road.
Tickets still remain for tonight’s game, but OU is expecting a sellout crowd. Bedlam is going to be the first time many have seen the Sooners in person this season.
“I’m really excited to see the fans tomorrow and see that imagery we have in here,” OU point guard Jordan Woodard said.
“It’s gonna be a good opportunity to show our fans we have a good basketball team.”
What truly makes this season’s first edition of Bedlam unique is both teams have that opportunity. The rivalry is one of the best in college sports, but its been nearly a decade since Bedlam featured two ranked teams. The last time that was the case was 2005.