By Totals 4 U
We return with a look at another match up of contenders to College Basketball’s National Championship, this week with a couple of top-10 squads tied atop the Big 12. #6 Kansas at #3 Oklahoma, tipoff 2:30 EST on Saturday from the Lloyd Nobel Center in Norman, Oklahoma. ESPN will provide the coverage.
KANSAS (20-4, 8-3 Big 12): Bill Self’s crew is off revenging an earlier loss to West Virginia, never trailing Wednesday night on the way to a 75-65 home victory, beating the Mountaineers’ relentless press by pushing the ball quickly, leading to 56.1% shooting from the field. Six Jayhawks scored 9 points or better, led by 21 from 6’8″ senior F Perry Ellis while 6’10” F Landen Lucas grabbed 16 boards and added 4 blocks.
Lucas and Wooden Award Finalist Ellis (16.9p, 6.5r) are joined in the starting lineup by a trio of guards, 5’11” Frank Mason III (13.1p, 4.8r, 4.6a) running the point, while 6’5″ Wayne Seldon Jr (14.4p) and 6’2″ Devonte Graham (10.7p) are able gunners behind the arc, nailing 95 of 220 this season. From the bench, 3-time National Coach of the Year Self, has a slew of depth at shooting guard and forward, with 6’7 junior Brannen Greene the best marksman.
The Jayhawks have the horses to push the pace all 40 minutes, scoring 83 points a trip, setting up a strong mix of easy points, shooting .490 from the field and .422 from deep while holding opponents to .406 and .330. Extremely athletic, natural play-makers (16.3 assists per game), and coached to play both ends.
OKLAHOMA (20-3, 8-3 Big 12): Lon Krugar’s group had a tougher time last trip, overcoming a 22-31 halftime deficit to Texas, rallied to the 63-60 home win by a tremendous closing performance by Wooden Award Finalist 6’4″ senior G Buddy Hiedl with 12 points in the last 3:11 including a 3-pointer to seal the deal with 1.3 seconds on the clock. 6’4″ Isaiah Cousins added 17 points and 6 boards while 6’8″ F Ryan Spangler posted 8 and 10.
Wooden Award Finalist Hiedl is positive scoring machine, averaging the major conferences’ best 25.7 per game, the only player in the country to shoot better than 50% from the field, better than 50% from three, and better than 90% from the stripe. Hows this for a stat: the Bahamanian native has equaled all the other players in the Big 12 with eight games of 30+ points!
Unlike Kansas, none of the Sooners came in a Blue Chip recruits, but Coach Kruger has started the same five every game, building chemistry that has racked 84.1 points per contest on .473 shooting including a blistering .451 mark behind the arc. Rounding out the starters are 6’0″ G Jordan Woodard (13.3p, 41 steals) and 6’9″ Khadeem Lattin (6.0p, 5.9r, 55 blocks).
FREE SELECTION: What a game! Kansas has a streak of 11 straight Conference Championships on the line, currently in a 3-way tie with the Mountaineers and Sooners, while another 3 teams remain just one game back. Oklahoma is 12-0 at home this season while Kansas took the first meeting 109-105 in triple overtime. These crews are very similar…the Jayhawks just a little more so. There’s no line yet posted and our bag is the Over/Unders but we’ll take our shot with Kansas by 3.
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-TD at Totals 4 You