Feb. 22, 2003

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GAME INFORMATION
Ranked fifth in this week's AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, Oklahoma (18-4 overall, 9-2 Big 12) will host No. 6/6 Kansas (20-5, 10-1) on Sunday at 3 p.m. CST inside Lloyd Noble Center. The only regular season matchup between the teams will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City, KFAQ 1170 AM in Tulsa) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action. The game will be televised nationally by CBS with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) and Billy Packer (analyst) announcing.

                                       AVERAGES
KANSAS PROJECTED STARTERS              PPG  RPG
F 4  Nick Collison (6-9, 255, Sr.)    18.9  8.9
F 42 Jeff Graves (6-9, 275, Jr.)       5.2  5.8
G 5  Keith Langford (6-4, 205, So.)   15.5  4.8
G 10 Kirk Hinrich (6-3, 190, Sr.)     17.8  3.7
G 11 Aaron Miles (6-1, 175, So.)       9.1  3.4

OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 32 Johnnie Gilbert (6-8, 230, So.) 3.6 4.8 F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 9.9 6.0 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 8.3 4.0 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 19.3 2.9 G 15 D. Alexander (6-4, 215, Fr.) 6.0 2.9

STATISTICAL COMPARISON
Category                    Oklahoma    Kansas
Overall Record                18-4       20-5
Big 12 Record                  9-2       10-1
Points Per Game               72.7       84.8
Opponent Points Per Game      59.6       66.7
Rebounds Per Game             37.4       41.3
Opponent Rebounds Per Game    32.2       33.6
Field Goal Pct.               .453       .500
Opponent Field Goal Pct.      .403       .405
3-Point Pct.                  .386       .345
Opponent 3-Point Pct.         .336       .361
Free Throw Pct.               .725       .669
Personal Fouls Per Game       18.3       15.7
Assists Per Game              14.3       18.4
Turnovers Per Game            11.5       14.6
Blocked Shots Per Game         3.7        4.9
Steals Per Game                7.6       10.6

OKLAHOMA UPDATE
Winners of eight of their last nine games and 12 of their last 14, the Oklahoma Sooners will put their nation's-best 35-game home court winning streak on the line Sunday against the last team to beat them in Norman. More than two years ago (Jan. 13, 2001), Kansas dealt Oklahoma a 69-61 defeat at Lloyd Noble Center. OU is coming off a convincing 64-48 home win over rival Oklahoma State in which it held the Cowboys to .286 field goal (16-for-56) and .143 (1-for-7) three-point shooting. Hollis Price netted a game-high 22 points and added six boards, two assists and three steals while Kevin Bookout registered his second career double-double (both against OSU) with 15 points and a career-high 12 boards. Bookout missed his first shot of the game before making his final six. Sunday's contest versus Kansas is the fourth in an extremely tough stretch of six that will also see the Sooners play at Missouri and Texas A&M. The Sooners lost at Texas (67-61) Feb. 10 before winning at Texas Tech (63-58) Feb. 15 and beating OSU on Wednesday. OU will finish its conference slate with home games against Nebraska and Texas.

Price, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, ranks second in the league with his 19.3 points per game, first in free throw percentage (.945) and third in three-pointers per game (2.9). In league games, he ranks second in scoring (20.2 ppg), first in free throw percentage (.978), first in treys per game (3.5) and third in three-point percentage (.481). He stands in ninth place on OU's career scoring list (1,634 points) and currently ranks as the school's career leader in free throw percentage (.860). In addition to his 19.3 points per contest, he also averages 2.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals. Price has made 36 straight free throw attempts and 63 of his last 64. He leads the nation with his .945 season mark (through Wednesday).

Ebi Ere ranks second on the team with his 14.7 points per outing, but has failed to reach double digits in six of the last 10 games. The senior, who has come off the bench the last two contests, is averaging 10.3 points on .298 shooting over those 10 games. Senior point guard Quannas White is averaging 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and a team-high 3.8 assists. He has been sensational over the last five games, averaging 14.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting .688 from the field (24-for-38) and .600 from three-point range (12-for-20). He leads the Big 12 with a stellar 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages just 1.2 turnovers per game (26 turnovers in 22 games). In Big 12 games, White ranks second in the conference with his .484 (15-for-31) three-point shooting. He turned in his best career game statistically last Saturday at Texas Tech with a career-high 23 points, a career-high eight rebounds, six assists and one turnover. White was 9-for-12 from the field and 5-for-7 from three-point range against the Red Raiders.

In the frontcourt, Bookout has emerged as one of the conference's better big men. The freshman forward averages 9.9 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting a Big 12-best .588 from the field. In league games, he's averaging 11.5 points and 6.6 boards while shooting a conference-best .609. Junior center Jabahri Brown, a 16-game starter who has come off the bench the last two, averages 6.0 points, 5.4 boards and 1.4 rejections per outing.

ABOUT KANSAS
After starting the season 3-3, Kansas has won 17 of its last 19 games (including seven straight) and leads the Big 12 by a game over OU and Texas. The Jayhawks, who have won 30 of their last 31 regular season conference outings, lead the league in scoring (84.8 ppg), scoring margin (+18.1), field goal percentage (.500), rebounding margin (+7.8), assists (18.4 apg) and steals (10.6 spg). KU is 13-1 at home on the year, 5-1 on the road and 2-3 in neutral site contests.

Four Jayhawks average more than 15 points a game. Senior forward Nick Collison and senior guard Kirk Hinrich, Naismith Award finalists, lead the way with 18.9 and 17.8 averages. Collison also averages 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 blocks per outing while Hinrich adds 3.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.0 steals. Sophomore forward Wayne Simien returned to the court two games ago following an 11-game absence to rehab a dislocated right shoulder. Simien is shooting a team-high .655 from the field and averages 15.6 points and 8.9 boards per game. Sophomore guard Keith Langford has started all 25 games and is scoring 15.5 points per outing. Point guard Aaron Miles, another sophomore, averages 9.1 points and ranks second in the Big 12 with 7.2 assists per game. He leads the league with 2.6 steals per contest.

In his 15th season at Kansas, head coach Roy Williams is 408-98 (.806). Earlier this year, he became the fourth fastest coach in NCAA Division I history to reach 400 career wins. Williams has guided the Jayhawks to 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 14 straight 20-win seasons.

KANSAS SERIES HISTORY
Kansas, the only Big 12 program with a winning record against Oklahoma, is 128-62 all-time versus the Sooners and owns a 43-38 advantage in Norman. Kelvin Sampson is 4-9 against the Jayhawks as OU's head coach and is 2-3 at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners have won two of their last three games against Kansas, with the victories coming in the last two Big 12 Tournaments. Last season in the conference tourney final, No. 4 OU held No. 1 Kansas to .333 field goal and .167 three-point shooting in a 64-55 victory. The Jayhawks set season lows for points, points in a half (19 in the first), field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage, and also committed 20 turnovers (OU had nine). The game marked KU's only loss in 19 outings to a Big 12 opponent last year. Hollis Price, who earned tournament MVP honors, scored a game-high 23 points. Jabahri Brown played one of his best games in an OU uniform and finished with seven points, eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals. The Sooners pulled off the victory despite getting only nine points from Aaron McGhee, their best player over the season's final two months. McGhee fouled out after logging just 15 minutes.

Earlier last season in Lawrence, Kansas held off a second-half Oklahoma rally to emerge with a 74-67 triumph that snapped OU's 13-game winning streak. The Sooners trailed by 22 midway through the second half before a 14-0 run sliced the margin. OU got to within six on three occasions but couldn't draw closer. Ebi Ere had 17 points and eight boards while Quannas White registered 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Price was held to 11 points on 3-for-11 field goal and 1-for-7 three-point shooting.

RECOGNIZING ROY
During the second media timeout of Sunday's game versus Kansas, the University of Oklahoma will recognize Roy Williams...the football player. Williams, a former OU safety who was the Dallas Cowboys' No. 1 draft pick last spring, recently contributed $100,000 towards a new strength training facility, currently being built as part of the school's new Everest Indoor Center. The new area - the 4,800-square-foot Roy Williams Strength Training Facility - will complement the main Robin Siegfried and Family Strength and Conditioning Center, located at the Switzer Center. A 90-second video will be shown as part of the recognition ceremony.

OKLAHOMA STATE LEFTOVERS

  • Hollis Price was 8-for-8 from the free throw line and extended his streak of consecutive makes to a school-record 36. Ryan Minor set the previous mark of 30 in a row during the 1995-96 season.
  • For the second straight game, point guard Quannas White grabbed eight rebounds. Eight is his career high.
  • OU shot .500 (7-for-14) from three-point territory and has shot at least .500 in its last five games.
  • OSU's .286 field goal effort was the second worst by an OU conference opponent during the Kelvin Sampson era (Nebraska shot .246 last year).

    HOME IS WHERE THE "W" IS
    Lloyd Noble Center has always been extremely kind to the Sooners. Oklahoma, which posted a perfect 16-0 mark at home last year and is 13-0 this season, is 354-59 (.857) inside the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign. The Sooners are 117-16 (.880) at home under ninth-year head coach Kelvin Sampson and have won 35 straight. The 35-game home winning streak is OU's longest since winning 51 in a row in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is the nation's longest current streak. It also stands as the longest in Big 12 Conference history (Kansas held the previous league record with 33 straight home wins).

    THE STREAK
    During Oklahoma's 35-game Lloyd Noble Center winning streak...

  • The Sooners have outscored their opponents by an average of 19.7 points per contest (81.4 to 61.7).
  • Opponents have been held to point totals in the 40s four times and in the 50s 10 times.
  • Only six opponents have topped the 70-point mark (78 by Texas last year marks the highest point total).
  • Just one opponent has shot .500 or better from the field (Prairie View A&M shot .533 on Nov. 30, 2002).
  • The Sooners have outrebounded 28 of their opponents.
  • OU has committed the same number of or fewer turnovers than 30 opponents.
  • Nineteen victories have come against Big 12 teams.

    LONG-RANGE BOMBING
    Oklahoma has shot .500 or better from three-point territory each of the last five games and has knocked down 45 of 84 attempts for a .536 figure during the span. No other OU team had ever recorded a .500-or-better mark from three-point range in four straight games. In its first 17 games, OU shot .348 from beyond the arc. The team's season three-point mark now stands at .386, second-best in the Big 12. In conference games, OU leads the league with a .430 figure (Iowa State is second at .388). Quannas White has gone 12-for-20 (.600) from long range over the last five games while Hollis Price has drained 21-of-40 (.525) attempts over the past six outings.

    BIG 12 DOMINANCE
    With its 64-48 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday, Oklahoma has now won 18 of its last 20 games against Big 12 opponents. The Sooners won their final five regular season games last season, earned three victories at the Big 12 Tournament, knocked off Missouri to go to the Final Four, and have started 9-2 in league play this year. OU's only two losses in the last 20 outings versus league competition were a 48-46 decision at then-No. 24 Oklahoma State on Jan. 13 and a 67-61 defeat at then-No. 6 Texas on Feb. 10.

    STREAKING SOONERS
    OU owns winning streaks of two or more games against eight of the Big 12's other 11 teams. The Sooners have won 18 straight against Baylor, nine versus Missouri, seven over Texas A&M, five against Kansas State, three versus Nebraska, three versus Colorado, two against Iowa State and two against Texas Tech. OU has also won eight of its last nine versus Texas, two of its last three versus Kansas and three of its last five with Oklahoma State.

    101 AND COUNTING FOR PRICE
    Senior guard Hollis Price picked up his 101st win in an OU uniform on Wednesday. Since he became a Sooner, OU owns a 102-23 (.816) record. Price missed last year's Texas Southern game, an Oklahoma win, so Oklahoma is 101-23 (.815) in games in which he's played. Darryl "Choo" Kennedy (1984-87) holds the school record for most victories by an individual player with 107. Tim McCalister (also 1984-87) won 106 games as a Sooner.

    LATE SEASON SUCCESS
    Since Kelvin Sampson became OU's head coach prior to the 1994-95 season, the Sooners are 55-20 (.733) in February and March regular season games. Oklahoma is 32-8 (.800) in those two months over the last four-plus seasons (4-1 this year). Last season, OU posted an 8-1 regular season mark in February and March with its only loss coming in overtime at Oklahoma State.

    ROAD RULE
    Oklahoma has had its share of success on the road under Kelvin Sampson with a 36-21 (.632) record in its last 57 true away contests. In Big 12 play, OU is 32-16 (.667) in its last 48 road contests. The Sooners have finished 5-3 in four of the last five seasons in conference road play and went 6-2 in 1998-99. Kansas (40-13), Oklahoma (33-21) and Texas (30-23) are the only schools with a winning road record since the Big 12 was formed.

    NO ASSIST(ANCE)
    Oklahoma has played 22 games this season and, remarkably, only three opponents have registered more assists than turnovers. Princeton (13 assists, 10 turnovers), Texas Tech (12 assists, 9 turnovers in first meeting) and Kansas State (16 assists, 10 turnovers) all did it. OU foes have recorded 86 more turnovers than assists this season (difference of 3.9 per game).

    GETTING DEFENSIVE
    Oklahoma limited Baylor to 42 points Feb. 8, the fewest by an OU opponent since the Sooners beat Mount St. Mary's 94-41 in 1999-2000 (span of 111 games). Oklahoma has held four opponents to point totals in the 40s, five in the 50s and 11 in the 60s. The Sooners held their first 17 opponents to 68 points or less. The last time OU held 17 straight opponents to 68 or fewer points in a single season was the 1950-51 campaign (first 22 games of the year). On the season, OU is holding opponents to 59.6 points per game, fewest in the Big 12. The last time OU held opponents to 59.6 points per game over the course of an entire season was 1977-78 (58.2 under head coach Dave Bliss). The lowest opponent scoring average by Kelvin Sampson's Sooners was 61.9 in 1998-99, a year in which OU went to the NCAA Sweet 16.

    PRICE LINE
    Senior Hollis Price attempted 99 free throws last year (2.8 per game). This year, however, Price has already attempted 110 foul shots (5.0 per game). The nation's top free throw shooter (.945) has made 63 of his last 64 free throw tries and set the school record for consecutive makes on Wednesday against Oklahoma State with his 36th straight (Ryan Minor held the school record with 30 consecutive makes during the 1995-96 season). Price also had a streak of 27 consecutive makes snapped at Oklahoma State on Jan. 13. He ranks first on the OU career free throw percentage chart with an .860 figure (Bo Overton shot .852 from 1980 to 1983). John Ontjes holds the OU single-season record (.867 in 1993-94).

    A TOP-10 HIT
    Oklahoma is ranked fifth in this week's AP poll. That makes 26 consecutive weeks that OU has appeared in the poll's top 10 (dating back to Jan. 5 last year). The Sooners were ranked No. 3 in last season's final edition and debuted in the same spot this year.

    TERRIFIC TRIO
    OU's starting guard trio of Ebi Ere, Hollis Price and Quannas White undoubtedly forms one of the nation's top backcourts. The senior threesome has accounted for 58 percent of the team's points, 64 percent of its assists and 49 percent of its steals. The three guards have also made 77 percent of OU's three-pointers on the year and 68 percent of its free throws.

    HEAVY IN THE BACK(COURT)
    Sooner backcourt members have scored 1,124 of the team's 1,600 points this year. That means 70 percent of OU's scoring has come from its guards. The guards have also registered 254 of the team's 315 assists (81 percent).

    PREACHING PROTECTION
    Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson has long stressed protecting the ball and his OU squads have heeded his words over the years. The Sooners ranked second in the Big 12 last year by averaging just 11.9 turnovers per game. OU led the league in 2000-01 and 1999-00 by averaging just 12.7 and 12.8 miscues per outing, respectively. The Sooners, who only had six turnovers Jan. 13 against Oklahoma State (their fewest since committing five vs. Arizona in last year's Sweet 16) and just seven Feb. 8 versus Baylor, rank first in the Big 12 this season with only 11.5 turnovers per game. Also, OU has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its foes in 16 of 22 games this year and in 28 of the last 35 games dating back to last season.

    PRICE-LESS
    One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 19.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. He has already passed 13 players (Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry, Al Beal, Mookie Blaylock, David Johnson, Terry Evans, Harvey Grant, Chucky Barnett, John McCullough and Don Sidle) on the school's all-time scoring chart this season. Price now stands ninth on the career list with 1,634 points and needs 13 points to pass Eduardo Najera for eighth. If he duplicates last year's 577-point performance this season, Price will wind up seventh on the career scoring list. The New Orleans native also ranks first in career free throw percentage (.860), second in three-point field goal attempts (547), third in three-point field goals (210), third in minutes played (3,880), fourth in steals (202), seventh in assists (434), ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.384) and 10th in steals per game (1.6).

    Price was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year by league coaches and media and is also a candidate for the Wooden and Naismith Awards. Additionally, he picked up preseason All-America honors from Playboy. Price averaged 16.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game last year to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors, as well as third-team All-America recognition from The Sporting News. He concluded the season by earning Big 12 Tournament and NCAA West Regional MVP honors.

    EBI'S ROLLERCOASTER RIDE
    Guard Ebi Ere had a stellar first 12 games of his senior season but has been up and down since. The 6-5, 215-pounder led the Sooners in scoring in eight of the first 12 outings and boasted an 18.4 scoring average after those 12 contests. Ere has failed to reach double figures in six of the last 10 games, however, and is averaging 10.3 points on .298 (34-for-114) field goal and .282 (11-for-39) three-point shooting during the 10-game stretch. He has come off the bench each of the last two games. Ere broke a three-game single-digit scoring skid by netting 18 against Texas A&M, 25 at Kansas State and 11 versus Baylor prior to his six- and seven-point outings last week at Texas and Texas Tech. Ere, who did can 3-of-4 three-point attempts and finished with 11 points against Oklahoma State on Wednesday, now averages 14.7 points (11.2 in Big 12 play), 5.2 boards, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal per outing.

    THE BOOK ON BOOKOUT
    True freshman Kevin Bookout was thrown to the wolves in the non-conference season, facing noted big men Erwin Dudley (Alabama), Mario Austin (Mississippi State), Aloysius Anagonye (Michigan State) and Emeka Okafor (Connecticut). The experience has seemed to pay off for the 6-8, 260-pound forward as he is averaging 11.5 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds while shooting .609 in OU's 11 conference games. He has started all 22 games and is averaging 9.9 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds on the season, and boasts a league-best .588 mark from the field in 29.4 minutes per contest. A second-team Parade All-American last year, Bookout became just the second freshman under ninth-year OU coach Kelvin Sampson to start the first game of a season (guard Prince Fowler was the other in 1994-95).

    MORE ON BOOKOUT
    Kevin Bookout's 9.9 points per game marks the highest scoring average by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster's 18.3 in 1990-91. His 6.0 rebounds per outing are the most by a frosh since Ryan Humphrey's 6.5 in 1997-98 and second most since David Johnson's 6.2 in 1983-84. Bookout's scoring and rebounding numbers compare favorably to freshman figures of some of OU's top players over the last decade. Ryan Minor averaged 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 1992-93, Eduardo Najera averaged 7.0 and 5.6 in 1996-97 and Hollis Price averaged 7.2 and 2.2 in 1999-2000.

    A CHARITY CASE
    Oklahoma has traditionally been a sound free throw shooting team under Kelvin Sampson as seven of his previous eight squads have finished first or second in the conference in the category. Last year, the Sooners, who finished seventh nationally in free throw shooting, led the Big 12 with a .767 season mark (they shot an amazing .798 in league games) and broke the school record of .755 set in 1985-86. OU is again off to a solid free throw shooting start this season. Through 22 games, the Sooners own a .725 free throw mark, second best in the Big 12.

    SAMPSON'S SUCCESS VS. STATE OF TEXAS
    Oklahoma owns an impressive 68-10 (.870) record against teams from the state of Texas under Kelvin Sampson. Against Big 12 foes Baylor (16-0), Texas (15-4), Texas A&M (13-1) and Texas Tech (10-5), OU is 54-10 (.844) under Sampson. The Sooners are 6-1 against Texas schools this year.

    OU SECURES BEST PRESEASON AP RANKING
    OU's No. 3 preseason AP ranking marked its highest ever to start a season. The Sooners' previous best AP ranking heading into a season was No. 5, in both 1984-85 and 1988-89. Oklahoma finished both of those seasons ranked No. 4 in the AP poll under head coach Billy Tubbs.

    QUICK TIPS

  • OU has shot a combined .536 from three-point range over the last five games (45-for-84).
  • Quannas White ranks second in the Big 12 (league games) with his .484 three-point mark while Hollis Price ranks third with a .481 figure.
  • Price is 34-for-34 at the foul line in five league home games and 10-for-11 in six Big 12 road games.
  • Price leads the nation with his .945 free throw percentage. He has made a school-record 36 in a row and 63 of his last 64 attempts (.984).
  • Price went 1-for-6 from long range against Oklahoma State but is 37-for-73 (.507) in OU's other 10 conference games. Included was a 9-for-16 effort at Iowa State.
  • Price is averaging 3.5 three-point makes per Big 12 game to lead the conference.
  • Price's 33 points against UConn and Ebi Ere's 33 against Hartford are the second most in the Big 12 this year. Price also poured in 31 against Iowa State, tying Kansas' Nick Collison for second most in a league game.
  • White leads the Big 12 with a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio and owns a 4.6 ratio in OU's wins.
  • OU's 11.5 turnover average marks its second-lowest under Kelvin Sampson (10.3 in 1995-96).
  • The Sooners have committed the same or fewer turnovers than their foes in 16 of 22 games this year and in 28 of their last 35 dating back to last season.
  • Opponents have attempted 28 more free throws in Big 12 play than OU.
  • The Big 12's top six teams are a combined 32-1 in league home games this year. OU is 5-0.
  • In eight-plus years under Kelvin Sampson, the Sooners sport a 109-10 record (.916) when scoring at least 80 points. They have won 48 of their last 50 games (.960) under the circumstance.
  • OU's No. 3 preseason AP ranking marked its highest ever to start a season.
  • Oklahoma is 15-8 in overtime games under Kelvin Sampson and has won nine of its last 11.

    SAMPSON SIGNS STELLAR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS
    Oklahoma signed four high-schoolers to national letters of intent Nov. 13. The class, which includes point guard Andrew Lavender, swingman Brandon Foust, combo guard Lawrence McKenzie and post Longar Longar, has been rated as one of the nation's 10 best.

    Lavender is a 5-7, 155-pounder from Brookhaven (Ohio) High School who averaged 11.0 points and 10.8 assists per game last year in leading his team to a state title. He is generally regarded as one of the country's top two or three point guards and is a top-20 national recruit. Lavender's teammate, Brandon Foust, is a 6-6, 200-pounder who averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior. Foust is considered one of the nation's top 60 players. The duo led Brookhaven to a 27-1 record last year.

    McKenzie, 6-1 and 165, has won three state titles at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, Minn. The former teammate of current Sooner Johnnie Gilbert averaged 15.0 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last year. He is regarded as a top-75 national recruit and appears on some analysts' top-50 lists.

    Longar, a 6-10, 210-pounder originally from Sudan, averaged 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks last year at John Marshall High School in Rochester, Minn. He is considered a top-50 recruit by most analysts.

    "I've never been into recruiting rankings," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson. "I look at how the players a team recruits fill the needs of that team. We will lose three starting guards after this season in Quannas White, Hollis Price and Ebi Ere. Lavender, Foust and McKenzie will not only form a great backcourt, but they're all freshmen. And Longar will be a freshman in the frontcourt. He's an investment who possesses two things you can't teach -- size and athleticism. These kids all come from great high school programs and learn from great coaches."

    OU SECURES BEST PRESEASON AP RANKING
    OU's No. 3 preseason AP ranking marked its highest ever to start a season. The Sooners' previous best AP ranking heading into a season was No. 5, in both 1984-85 and 1988-89. Oklahoma finished both of those seasons ranked No. 4 in the AP poll under head coach Billy Tubbs.

    OU RANKED NO. 1 BY ESPN.COM
    ESPN.com ranked the Sooners No. 1 in the nation in its preseason power poll Nov. 13. Oklahoma is in front of No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 5 Florida. Said ESPN.com's Jay Bilas, "The Sooners are the toughest and hardest nosed team in the nation. Kelvin Sampson has a durable and resilient group that is deep and athletic, and has embraced Sampson's style of playing smashmouth basketball on both ends of the floor. Oklahoma sends four athletes to the offensive glass, rebounds the ball with ferocity, gets into your chest and defends with an aggressive and physical demeanor, and has the mental make-up to win the national championship."

    OU BOASTS NATION'S SECOND-LONGEST POSTSEASON STREAK
    OU has participated in either the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament in each of the last 21 seasons. During that stretch the Sooners have made the NCAA field 17 times and have played in the NIT on four occasions. The 21-year streak is the second longest in the nation. OU trails only Indiana, which has made 25 straight postseason appearances.

    EIGHT STRAIGHT...AND COUNTING
    Oklahoma has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Kelvin Sampson's eight years in Norman. Only eight other schools have made the "Big Dance" each of the past eight seasons (Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Stanford and UCLA).

    MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
    Oklahoma has registered a winning record in 25 of its last 26 seasons. No other Big 12 team can boast as many winning campaigns since the 1975-76 season as the Sooners. OU has posted a 588-251 (.701) record over the past 26 years.

    THE LAST THREE YEARS
    Over the last three seasons, Oklahoma has amassed an 84-19 (.816) record, good for the nation's fourth best winning percentage and fourth most wins during the span:

    By Winning Percentage
    1. Duke (.880)
    2. Cincinnati (.825)
    3. Stanford (.821)
    4. Oklahoma (.816)

    By Victories
    1. Duke (95-13)
    2. Cincinnati (85-18)
    2. Tulsa (85-23)
    4. Oklahoma (84-19)

    UNDER KELVIN SAMPSON ENTERING 2002-03...

  • Oklahoma has posted an 84-19 (.816) record over the last three years, good for an average of 28.0 wins per season during the span.
  • Oklahoma has recorded five consecutive 20-win seasons.
  • Oklahoma owns a 68-28 (.708) Big 12 Conference record.
  • Oklahoma has won the last two Big 12 Tournament championships.
  • Oklahoma has competed in each of the last eight NCAA Tournaments.
  • Oklahoma has won its last 22 home games (sixth-longest current streak in NCAA Division I).
  • Oklahoma has finished 12th (2000), 13th (2001) and third (2002) in the last three final AP polls.