Feb. 14, 2012

 

By Andrew Gilman | SoonerSports.com
 
NORMAN, Okla. -- Here are five things to watch for Tuesday when the Oklahoma men's basketball team hosts Texas at 7 p.m. CT at Lloyd Noble Center. OU enters the game 13-11 overall and 3-9 in the Big 12, while Texas is 16-9 and 6-6.

1. Home court confidence
OU has lost its last three at Lloyd Noble Center, but the Sooners have played much better at home. Two of the three defeats came against top-10 teams and OU was close near the end in all three. Look for the Sooners to be more inspired at 7 Tuesday night than they were in Saturday's loss at Texas Tech. Also, Texas is 1-4 on the road in conference.

Oklahoma vs. Texas | Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
Full Game Preview | OU Ticket Information | Live Coverage | Gameday Central

2. Defending Texas' J'Covan Brown
How OU defends Texas junior J'Covan Brown will be significant. He's averaging a team-best 19.8 points per game. That total is also best in the Big 12. OU guard Sam Grooms said a number of Sooners will get a shot at trying to stop Brown. If OU can slow down Brown, it should be in good shape. No other Longhorn starter is averaging more than 9.8 points per game, although Sheldon McClellan is getting 11 points per outing off the bench.

3. Extra production needed
While the Sooners have three scorers in Andrew Fitzgerald, Romero Osby and Steven Pledger -- all are averaging more than 12 points per game -- OU needs to get some production from someone else. No one among the bench players is averaging more than 16.6 minutes per game and no one is scoring more than 3.8 points, either. Cameron Clark seems the likely candidate. The sophomore starter has shown flashes this season. He had six points and six rebounds Saturday against Texas Tech.

4. Grooms has got it going
Junior point guard Sam Grooms has been a bright spot all season. He leads the conference in assists with six per game and is averaging three assists for every turnover -- also tops in the conference and fifth nationally. Grooms has seven or more assists in six of the last seven games. He had a season-high 10 against Missouri (along with a career-high 17 points) and followed that up with eight assists against Texas Tech.

5. Find a way to win
The Sooners have dropped four in a row and six of seven and stand 13-11 overall and 3-9 in the conference. A win against Texas seems doable, considering OU has played Missouri close and beaten Kansas State twice. A win against the Longhorns will also help erase some of the bad feelings left over from an 18-point loss at Texas Tech. Meanwhile, a win would keep hope alive for a postseason berth for the Sooners.