ALL-COLLEGE CLASSIC PREVIEW
Oklahoma (6-3) goes for its third straight win and fifth in six games when it faces Tulsa (8-1) in the first game of the O’Reilly All-College Classic on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. CST inside Oklahoma City’s Ford Center. The Golden Hurricane has won its last six games. The game will precede the Oklahoma State-Pittsburgh 6 p.m. contest.
Thursday’s Oklahoma-Tulsa matchup will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC-AM 1520 in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry Sr., and Mike Houck calling the action. Both games will be nationally televised by ESPN2 with Ron Franklin and Fran Fraschilla announcing.
Date: Thursday, Dec. 21
Site: Oklahoma City (Ford Center)
Tip: 3:30 p.m. CST
Radio: Sooner Radio Network
Flagship: KOKC 1520 AM (OKC)
Series: OU leads 25-11
Tickets for the O’Reilly All-College Classic are still available for $45, $38, $22 and $15, and can be obtained by calling Ticketmaster (405) 235-8288 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available on Thursday at Ford Center box offices.
TULSA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 4 Calvin Walls (6-7, 235, Jr., 7.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
F 41 Charles Ramsdell (6-10, 218, Sr., 8.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
F 1 Ben Uzoh (6-3, 185, Fr., 10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
G 5 Brett McDade (6-0, 170, Jr., 6.6 ppg, 3.0 apg)
G 33 Rod Earls (6-2, 194, Jr., 12.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 32 Taylor Griffin (6-7, 232, So., 7.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
C 30 Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 13.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 11.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
G 5 Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 10.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
G 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 10.9 ppg, 3.9 apg)
The Sooners played one of their most complete games of the season in an 89-60 home win over UT Arlington on Saturday. Oklahoma shot .514 from the field, held the Mavericks to a .370 mark, recorded a 48-26 advantage on the glass and notched season highs in blocked shots (8) and steals (13). OU’s 20 offensive rebounds were also a season high. The 89 points were the Sooners’ most since netting 99 in the season opener against Norfolk State.
Freshman guard Tony Crocker continued his solid play with a team-high 18 points, six rebounds and two assists against UT Arlington. The 6-5, 187-pounder is averaging 15.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting .543 over the last three contests. Fellow guard Michael Neal dominated Saturday’s box score by scoring 17 points and adding five rebounds, six assists and a career-high five steals. The senior is averaging 18.0 points, 5.5 boards and 5.0 assists over the last two games. He also leads the Big 12 with his .955 season free throw mark (he is 21-for-22).
Junior center Longar Longar and sophomore guard Austin Johnson contributed 16 and 13 points, respectively against the Mavericks. Longar was 7-for-9 from the field and has made 14 of his 16 field goal attempts over the last two games. He leads OU with his 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, as well as with his .640 field goal percentage. Over the past five outings Longar is averaging 15.4 points and 8.6 boards while shooting .706 from the floor. Johnson, who drained three 3-pointers against UTA, averages 10.9 points and a team-high 3.9 assists on the season. He also leads OU with his 17 treys and his .405 3-point percentage.
Taylor Griffin, a sophomore forward who averaged 4.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.7 assists over the three games prior to UT Arlington, only scored two points against the Mavericks but registered career highs in rebounds (13) and assists (7). He is averaging 7.0 points on the year and ranks second on the squad with his 7.0 boards per contest.
Oklahoma is outscoring its opponents by 16.3 points a game on the season (72.0 to 55.7) and boasts a +8.7 rebounding advantage per contest (38.6 to 29.0), best in the Big 12 Conference.
UT ARLINGTON LEFTOVERS
OU recorded assists on 75 percent of its field goals (27 assists on 36 makes).
Four Sooners recorded at least four assists, the first time for the feat since Jan. 24, 2005, when OU beat Oklahoma State 67-57 in Norman.
Oklahoma’s 20 offensive rebounds were its most since pulling down 22 at Kansas last season on Feb. 5.
Longar Longar tied a career high with five blocked shots.
OU’s 20 fast break points were its most on the year.
Tulsa (8-1) enters the All-College Classic with all eight of its wins coming at home. Its lone loss was a 65-63 setback in the season’s third game at North Texas. Since then the Golden Hurricane has reeled off six consecutive victories against Cal State Northridge, Oral Roberts, Lamar, Jackson State, Southern Arkansas and Prairie View A&M by an average of 23.2 points. On the season, TU is shooting .477 from the field, .352 from 3-point range and .737 from the free throw line. Opponents have shot .388 from the floor and .314 from beyond the arc. The Golden Hurricane has also outrebounded its foes by 8.8 a game (40.2 to 31.4)
Junior guard Rod Earls leads Tulsa with his 12.8 points an outing and averages 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Earls also paces the squad with his 20 3-pointers (2.2 a game) and shoots .444 from long distance. Senior forward Darold Crow has come off the bench in all nine games but ranks second on the squad in scoring with his 11.2 points in just 19.2 minutes a contest. Freshman guard Ben Uzoh contributes 10.2 points, a team-high 5.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game while shooting .492 from the field. Senior forward Charles Ramsdell averages 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds while junior forward Calvin Walls supplies 7.9 points and 4.8 boards a game.
Doug Wojcik is in his second season as a collegiate head coach and owns a 19-18 (.514) record. Last year he guided Tulsa to an 11-17 mark.
TULSA SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 25-11 series lead against Tulsa and is 8-2 versus the Golden Hurricane in Oklahoma City (OU owns a 5-1 advantage in the All-College Classic).
The Sooners have won in each of the last three seasons against TU. Last year OU posted a 62-53 road win as Terrell Everett netted a career-high 26 points. In 2004-05, Oklahoma held on for a 70-64 win in the All-College Classic as Jaison Williams made five 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 21 points. In the third game of the 2003-04 campaign, OU notched an 81-73 triumph as Williams (16 points) paced five Sooners in double figures.
OU’S ALL-COLLEGE HISTORY
This year’s All-College Classic marks the 31st such event for Oklahoma and the 24th straight. The Sooners own a 49-12 (.803) all-time record in the All-College and have claimed 18 championships. They have won 12 of their last 13 games in the event. This marks the sixth year that the All-College features a “classic” or non-tournament format. OU lost to West Virginia (92-68) last year but beat Tulsa (70-64) two years ago, Princeton (58-55) in 2003-04, Michigan State (60-58) in 2002-03 and Texas Southern (97-55) in 2001-02.
OU freshman guard Tony Crocker and Tulsa freshman guard Ben Uzoh were teammates at San Antonio’s Warren High School.
Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik was a North Carolina assistant coach for three seasons (2000-01 through 2002-03 under Matt Doherty). OU head coach Jeff Capel’s brother, Jason, was a forward for the Tar Heels for the first two of those three seasons.
Wojcik was born April 12, 1964, in Wheeling, W. Va., while Oklahoma assistant coach Mark Cline was born June 9, 1964, in Williamson, W. Va.
Despite failing to outrebound three of its nine opponents this year, Oklahoma leads the Big 12 Conference with its +8.7 rebounding margin per game. The importance of rebounding is illustrated in the fact that OU is 6-0 when it has outboarded its opponents and 0-3 when it hasn’t. In their victories, the Sooners have outrebounded their foes by 15.1 a game (42.8 to 27.7). In their losses they’ve been outboarded by 4.3 a game (34.3 to 30.0).
OU averages 12.1 offensive rebounds per outing on the year while opponents average 9.0. Purdue is the only team to grab more offensive boards than the Sooners in a game this year.
After playing limited minutes the last two years behind All-Big 12 big men Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout, junior center Longar Longar is making the most of his opportunity this year. The 6-11, 228-pounder averaged 2.9 points in 7.9 minutes a game as a freshman and 2.1 points in 7.2 minutes a contest last year. This season, Longar leads OU with his 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per outing. He also paces the team and ranks third in the Big 12 with a .640 field goal mark.
Longar, who was born in Sudan and attended high school in Rochester, Minn., is averaging 15.4 points and 8.6 boards over the last five games. Included was a 24-point, career-high 14-rebound performance against Chaminade in the third round of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Nov. 22, and a 15-point, 11-rebound game against Coppin State on Dec. 9. Longar also scored 21 points against Liberty in the second game of the season (Nov. 16).
Longar already has more than twice as many points this year (124) as he did last season, as well as more rebounds (65) this year than he did last (43).
MAZE RETURNS TO COURT
Freshman guard Bobby Maze made his Oklahoma debut Dec. 9 against Coppin State after missing the first seven games with a broken right foot sustained Nov. 8 in practice. In 11 minutes of second-half action, the 6-3, 175-pounder posted two points, three rebounds and two assists. OU outscored Coppin State 22-9 while he was in the game. Maze followed that effort with an eight-point, three-rebound, four-assist outing against UT Arlington on Saturday (he played 14 minutes). He’s averaging 5.0 points, 3.0 boards and 3.0 assists in 12.5 minutes a contest and has made five of his six field goal attempts.
From Suitland, Md., Maze attended The Patterson School (N.C.) last year and was rated as the No. 135 overall player in the 2007 recruiting class by Rivals.com.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING
The following notes compare Oklahoma’s stats in wins and losses this year...
In its six wins this year OU is outrebounding its opponents by 15.1 a game. In its three losses it is getting outboarded by 4.3.
Opponents are shooting just .324 from the field in OU’s wins while they are shooting .468 in OU’s losses.
OU’s assist-to-turnover ratio in its victories is +1.3 (106 assists and 82 turnovers). The ratio in losses is -1.8 (36 and 63).
Longar Longar is averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in the Sooners’ wins but just 8.0 points and 5.0 boards in their defeats.
Interestingly, OU is shooting .648 from the free throw line in its wins compared to .796 in its losses.
STACKING UP AGAINST THE BIG 12
OU ranks first in the Big 12 in rebounding margin (+8.7), second in scoring defense (55.7 ppg), second in field goal percentage defense (.372), fourth in free throw percentage (.701) and fourth in scoring margin (+16.3).
Michael Neal leads the conference with his .955 free throw percentage (21-for-22).
Longar Longar ranks 16th in the conference in scoring (13.8 ppg), third in field goal percentage (.640), eighth in rebounding (7.2), third in offensive rebounding (3.3) and ninth in blocked shots (1.6).
Taylor Griffin (10th) and David Godbold (19th) rank in the top 20 in rebounding with their 7.0 and 5.8 respective averages. Griffin also ranks fourth in the league with his 5.2 defensive boards a contest.
Austin Johnson’s 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks seventh in the conference.
SOONER QUICK TIPS
Oklahoma’s next three opponents have a combined record of 25-3 (Tulsa and SMU are 8-1 while Alabama is 9-1).
Junior Longar Longar already has 124 points this season, just three short of his combined total over his first two years (127).
Thirty of Longar’s 65 rebounds this season (46 percent) have come on the offensive end of the floor. Nate Carter has plucked 12 of his 23 rebounds (52 percent) off the offensive glass.
Oklahoma shot .769 from the free throw line over its first six games but owns just a .485 mark (16-for-33) over the last three outings. Longar began the season by making his first nine free throw attempts. Since then he is 5-for-14 (.357).
No opponent has shot .500 from the field against OU this year. In fact, the Sooners have held six of their nine foes to figures under .400 on the season.
The Sooners are 6-0 in games they’ve outrebounded their opponent and 0-3 when they haven’t.
Every Sooner averages fewer than 30 minutes a game. Junior guard David Godbold averages a team-high 29.3 minutes.
The 2006-07 season marks the 100th year of varsity basketball at Oklahoma. The Sooners began playing the sport during the 1907-08 season under head coach D.C. Hall (it was his lone year as OU’s mentor). Their first game was a 32-12 win over Epworth College on Nov. 26, 1907, at Convention Hall in Oklahoma City. OU posted a 4-3 record that year with a two-game sweep of Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State).
The Sooners now own a 1,435-912 (.611) all-time record and a 403-66 (.859) mark at Lloyd Noble Center. They have participated in 24 NCAA Tournaments, four Final Fours (1939, 1947, 1988 and 2002) and two national title games (1947 and 1988). OU has won or shared 13 conference championships (the most recent was in 2005) and has claimed seven league tournament titles (the most recent was in 2003).
NATION’S LONGEST POSTSEASON STREAK
Oklahoma made its 25th consecutive postseason appearance last year (20 NCAA and five NIT), good for the longest current streak among Division I programs. The last time OU did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The Sooners have competed in the NCAA Tournament 11 times in the last 12 seasons.
NINE STRAIGHT 20-WIN CAMPAIGNS
The Sooners boast a streak of nine straight 20-win seasons dating back to the 1997-98 campaign. OU and Kansas are the only Big 12 schools who have won at least 20 games each of the last nine seasons. Oklahoma State has eight 20-win seasons in the last nine years while Texas is next with seven.