|Steven Pledger is shooting 57 percent from the field in home games.|
|Oklahoma (10-3, 0-1) vs. No. 14/15 Kansas (11-3, 1-0)|
|Date & Tip Time||Saturday, Jan. 7, at 1:05 p.m. CT|
|Location||Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center | Seating Views|
|Tickets|| $10, $30 and $40; $5 for OU students
OU Athletics Ticket Office
|Radio|| Sooner Radio Network
KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
|Live Stats||SoonerSports.com GameTracker|
|Game Info||Game Notes (PDF)|
SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma (10-3, 0-1) plays its Big 12 Conference home opener Saturday at 1 p.m. CT when Kansas (11-3, 1-0) visits Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners, who lost 87-49 at No. 7 Missouri on Tuesday, are 7-0 at home this season. The No. 14/15 Jayhawks, are coming off a 67-49 home win over Kansas State on Wednesday. Saturday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa; Sirius 92; XM 194) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be televised by ESPNU with Dave Flemming and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.
• Tickets are available for $10, $30 and $40 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
• OU students may purchase a ticket for $5.
• The Sooners are 10-5 in Big 12 home openers. They have won 19 of their last 23 overall home games.
• In seven home games this year (all wins), the Sooners are shooting .472 from the field, .422 from behind the arc and .755 from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting .382, .253 and .639, respectively. OU also owns a +14.0 rebounding advantage at home this year.
• The junior trio of Steven Pledger (.574), Andrew Fitzgerald (.541) and Romero Osby (.526) is shooting a combined .548 from the field at home this year. The threesome has accounted for 51 percent of the team’s points at Lloyd Noble Center.
• Oklahoma had been impressive defensively over a seven-game stretch prior to Tuesday night’s loss at Missouri. In those seven games, OU held opponents to an average of 59.4 points on .367 field goal and .257 3-point shooting. On Tuesday, Missouri scored 87 points with the help of .593 field goal and .571 (11-for-21) 3-point shooting.
• Out of 338 Division I teams, OU ranks No. 11 nationally in rebounds per game (40.7), No. 12 in offensive rebounds per game (15.4), No. 14 in 3-point field goal percentage (.402), No. 30 in free throw percentage (.741) and No. 65 in scoring (74.9 ppg).
• The Sooners have scored at least 75 points eight times in their 13 games (62 percent) after doing it seven times in its 32 contests last year (22 percent).
• OU has shot better than .500 from 3-point range in four of its last eight games. However, the Sooners are averaging just 3.7 treys over their last three.
• OU’s wins over Sacramento State (by 29 points), Coppin State (27), Arkansas (15), Washington State (15), Oral Roberts (14) and Houston (5) represent those teams’ largest margins of defeat this year. The Sooners also handed South Carolina State (35 points) its second worst defeat.
PLEDGER OFF TO A SIZZLING START
After averaging 8.6 points and shooting .386 from the field and .345 from long distance over his first two seasons, junior guard Steven Pledger is averaging 18.2 points this year and is shooting .532 from the field and .484 from 3-point range (single-season school record is .473 by Tim Heskett in 1998-99). Pledger ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring, second in 3-point field goal percentage, fourth in 3-pointers per game (2.8) and fifth in field goal percentage and free throw percentage (.857).
• To help put Pledger’s .532 field goal performance into perspective, the only OU guard since the start of the 3-point era in 1986-87 (25 years ago) to shoot at least .500 from the field over the course of an entire season was Nolan Johnson in 1999-00. Johnson shot .559 that year but only attempted two 3-point field goals and made none. Pledger has attempted 70 treys (made 34).
• Pledger has scored in double figures in each of his 12 outings and has shot at least .500 from the field in eight games. He has scored at least 20 points five times after doing it three times all of last season.
• Pledger averaged 13.6 points per 40 minutes last season but has significantly increased that projection this year (23.5).
• Pledger has made 74 field goals this year, already putting him at 66 percent of last year’s total (112).
MORE INDIVIDUAL NOTES
• Junior guard Sam Grooms has been strong at the point, ranking No. 2 in the Big 12 in assists (5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6). He has recorded one or zero turnovers five times in 13 games and ranks second on the team in minutes (28.8). Over the last five outings, Grooms has 34 assists (6.8 average) and 11 turnovers (3.1 ratio). Only one Sooner in the last 15 years averaged more assists per game for an entire season than Grooms’ current 5.5 average (6.9 by Terrell Everett in 2005-06).
• Junior forward Romero Osby ranks second in the Big 12 with his 2.9 offensive rebounds per game and third with his 8.3 overall boards per outing. He has recorded at least 10 rebounds on six occasions this year (his career high entering the season was eight). He pulled down a career-high 18 boards vs. South Carolina State on Dec. 21 and followed with 12 at Cincinnati Dec. 29.
• Junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald has scored in double figures in each of the last eight games (averaging 15.4 during stretch on .530 shooting) after doing it just twice in OU’s first five outings (averaged 8.4 points on .400 shooting). He has scored at least 13 points in seven of the last eight games, including season highs of 18 points in two of the last three.
• OU’s lone senior on scholarship, forward C.J. Washington has provided a big lift off the bench the last two home outings. In games against South Carolina State and Northwestern State, Washington averaged 6.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in an average of just 13.5 minutes. Projected to 40 minutes per game, those scoring and rebounding averages jump to 19.3 and 25.2, respectively.
• Head coach Lon Kruger is just 11 victories shy of 500 for his career. He ranks second among current Big 12 head coaches with 489 career wins (Texas’ Rick Barnes has 534 victories).
CLEANING THE GLASS
• OU leads the Big 12 in rebounds per game at 40.7 (ranks No. 11 nationally), offensive rebounds per game at 15.4 (ranks No. 12 nationally) and offensive rebounding percentage at 43 percent. It ranks second in the league in average rebounding margin at +8.5 (Kansas is at +9.1).
• The Sooners have outrebounded all but two of their 13 opponents (Washington State and Missouri).
• Oklahoma’s top two rebounding totals of the 16-year Big 12 era have been recorded this year (63 vs. S.C. State and 61 vs. Coppin State).
• OU has pulled down double-digit offensive rebounds in all but the Sacramento State and Missouri games and is averaging 15.4 offensive boards per contest to its opponents’ 11.4. The Sooners are averaging 13.5 second-chance points while foes are averaging 10.9.
• The Sooners are averaging 6.9 more offensive rebounds per game this year than last (15.4 to 8.5).
• Ranked No. 14 and No. 15 in the AP and coaches’ polls, 11-3 Kansas picked up a 67-49 home win over No. 23/22 Kansas State on Wednesday in the Big 12 opener for both teams. The Jayhawks held K-State to .316 shooting and outrebounded it 50-26.
• KU is 8-0 at home and 3-3 away from Allen Fieldhouse. Its losses have come to Kentucky (75-65 in New York), Duke (68-61 in Hawaii) and Davidson (80-74 in Kansas City).
• The Jayhawks average 75.4 points per game (rank fifth in Big 12) and are shooting .479 from the field (fourth), .357 from 3-point distance (sixth) and .689 from the free throw line (seventh). They lead the league in rebounding margin (+9.1 per game).
• Junior forward Thomas Robinson, a teammate of OU’s Andrew Fitzgerald at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, ranks fourth in the Big 12 in scoring (17.5 ppg) and first in rebounding (12.3 rpg; ranks No. 2 nationally). Robinson’s 10 double-doubles are six more than the league’s second-highest total (four by OU’s Romero Osby). The reigning Big 12 Player of the Week is averaging 22.5 points and 17.0 rebounds the last two games.
• Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor averages 15.1 points and a team-high 5.1 assists per game (ranks fourth in league). A career .360 3-point shooter entering the season, Taylor has made 18 of his 36 attempts this season (.500).
• Junior guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford average 9.7 and 8.8 points per game, respectively. Johnson also averages 3.8 assists, while Releford is coming off his first career double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds vs. Kansas State).
• Bill Self is in his ninth year as Kansas’ head coach and owns a 248-49 record. He’s in his 19th year overall.
OU-KANSAS SERIES HISTORY
Kansas is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against Oklahoma. The Jayhawks own a 136-64 series advantage and are 46-40 in Norman. The Sooners had won three of the five overall meetings in the series and four of the seven prior to Kansas’ current six-game victory streak. OU is 4-15 against the Jayhawks since the formation of the Big 12 Conference (2-6 in Norman). They have won two of the last five against KU in Norman (won 77-70 in 2003 and 71-63 in 2005).
LAST YEAR VS. THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas’ Marcus Morris (23 and nine) and Markieff Morris (19 and 10) combined for 42 points and 19 rebounds as the Jayhawks posted an 82-70 win in Norman on Feb. 26 of last season. KU shot .568 from the field (.708 in the first half) and made 26 of 35 free throw attempts. The Sooners committed a season-low six turnovers, but also recorded a season-low 16 rebounds (to KU’s 35). Cade Davis led OU with 19 points (10-for-11 on free throws) while Andrew Fitzgerald netted 16 points and Cameron Clark (10).
SOONER TIP INS
• The last time Oklahoma beat a top-15 team was Feb. 6, 2009 (defeated No. 9 Texas 80-71).
• While head coach at Kansas State from 1987-90, Lon Kruger compiled a 4-7 record against Kansas. Two of the losses came in overtime and another was by one point. OU assistant coach Steve Henson played in all 11 of those contests.
• Oklahoma has recorded 40 dunks in its 13 games (3.1 average) and junior forward Romero Osby has 22 of them (55 percent).
• Osby has grabbed at least six rebounds in 10 of 13 games this year. In his 35 games at Mississippi State as a sophomore in 2009-10, Osby pulled down at least six boards on three occasions.
• Osby and fellow junior Andrew Fitzgerald lead the team with five charges taken each.
• Last year, Steven Pledger averaged 15.4 points in OU’s wins and 7.4 points in its losses. This year, the junior guard is averaging 20.6 points in wins and 11.0 in defeats (scored 11 in each of three losses).
• Pledger is the only Sooner to make a 3-pointer the last two games (three treys in each).
• Oklahoma and Texas are the only two Big 12 schools who have eight players each averaging at least 3.0 rebounds.
The Sooners have a quick turnaround and play at Oklahoma State on Monday at 6 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPNU.