Follow Live: Men's Hoops March Madness

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 12, 2014

The Sooners are in Kansas City for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, which will be played Wednesday through Saturday inside the 18,972-seat Sprint Center. Fans can follow the team on Twitter and Instagram to get instant updates from inside the huddle.

Oklahoma is the No. 2 seed in the event and has a first-round bye. Lon Kruger's team will begin play Thursday at 6 p.m. CT in a quarterfinals game against Baylor (No. 7 seed).

If the Sooners win on Thursday, they will play a semifinals contest Friday at 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s championship game will start at 8 p.m.

OU has the third-most wins (20-14 record) and second-most titles (three) in the 17-year history of the Big 12 Championship. They have played in five of the league's 17 championship games. Two of the Sooners' three titles came in Kansas City (2001 and 2002).

Visit this page for periodic information, photo and video updates of the Sooners while they're in Kansas City.

OU's Rally Falls Short Against Baylor

Posted March 13, 2014 at 8:42 p.m.

The Sooners fell to the Baylor Bears 78-73 in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals Thursday night. OU rallied to within three points with four seconds left after falling behind by as many as 21.

The win was Baylor's ninth in its last 10 games. OU dropped to 23-9 overall. Cameron Clark led OU with 19 points, while Buddy Hield added 15.

"I liked our guys' fight there late to get back into it," OU  head coach Lon Kruger said. "But still credit Baylor. I thought they did what they needed to do to win a ballgame, and they deserved it more than we did."

The Sooners Trail Baylor 47-31 at the Half

Posted March 13, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.

D.J. Bennett Stretches During Pregame

Posted March 13, 2014 at 5:32 p.m.

PHOTOS: Gameday vs. Baylor

Posted March 13, 2014 at 1:27 p.m.

The Sooners practiced and shot around at Rockhurst University this morning. Check out photos on our live Facebook gallery throughout the day. Updates will be available here as well.

Big 12 Championship Trophy

VIDEO: What a Difference a Year Makes

Posted March 13, 2014 at 1:04 p.m.

Sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins has been one of the most improved Sooners this year, blossoming into one of OU's most consistent performers in his second season in Norman.

GAME DAY! Sooners Shoot at Rockhurst University

Posted March 13, 2014 at 11:52 a.m. by Mike Houck

It’s taken forever, but game day is finally here. OU takes on Baylor at 6 p.m. CT in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals at Sprint Center in Kansas City.

The No. 2 seed Sooners have just arrived at NCAA Division II Rockhurst University for their hour-long shootaround. The players seem loose and relaxed as they go for their fifth straight win against the Bears and third in three tries this season.

Big 12 Championship Trophy

Coach Kruger has been preaching aggressiveness, staying in attack mode and limiting Baylor to one shot each possession. The Bears lead the Big 12 with their +7.7 rebounding margin per game and outboarded TCU 39-22 last night in a 76-68 first-round win. They are the league's top offensive rebounding squad.

Tonight’s game will feature the two hottest teams in the Big 12, with OU winning five of its last six and Baylor taking eight of its last nine.

Thursday's Opponent Has Been Determined

Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:41 p.m. by Mike Houck

Oklahoma's Thursday opponent is now known. Baylor just beat TCU 76-68 in the Big 12 Championship opening round, which means the Sooners will face the Bears (22-10) at 6 p.m. CT in a quarterfinals matchup.

OU will be going up against the hottest team in the league. After starting 2-8 in Big 12 play, Baylor has won eight of its last nine games. It finished tied for sixth with a 9-9 conference record.

The Sooners swept the regular season series, winning 66-64 on Jan. 18 in Waco and 88-72 on Feb. 8 in Norman. OU holds a 41-10 all-time record against Baylor and is 32-5 against the Bears since the start of the Big 12 Conference.

Thursday's game will be televised by the Big 12 Network.

VIDEO: Prep Day in Kansas City

Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

PHOTOS: Day 1 in Kansas City

Posted March 12, 2014 at 6:02 p.m.

From practice at Rockhurst University to shootaround at the Sprint Center, it's been a full day of work for the Sooners. Click here or the photo below to check out images from the entire day.

Big 12 Championship Trophy

First Look at Sprint Center

 Seniors Ready to Make Final Run at a Big 12 Title

Posted March 12, 2014 at 4:48 p.m. by Chelsey Kraft

Oklahoma seniors Cameron Clark and Tyler Neal enter their fourth Big 12 Championship with one last chance to make a run at a conference title.

The duo is a combined 1-3 in the tournament, with the only win coming their freshman season against Baylor, a potential quarterfinals opponent on Thursday. Clark and Neal are looking forward to a competitive, but wide open, event.

"It's a year where, compared to past years, we really feel like we have as good a chance as any team in the league to come away with a championship," Neal explained between practices today. "It's really exciting and we know we have to take it one game at a time."

Big 12 Championship Trophy

Clark said he expects himself to be aggressive, make shots and grab rebounds this week to help the team.

"It's my last go-around, so I just want to try and make it the best one I can," Clark said.

Both seniors have been big keys to the Sooners' success this season, and OU head coach Lon Kruger said because they realize their collegiate careers are winding down there's extra motivation for them to perform well in Kansas City.

"It's great that they are playing their best basketball down the stretch of their senior year," Kruger said. "Both have been hugely important in terms of making shots and rebounding, and also with their leadership every day in practice. They know this is a conference tournament championship opportunity, and all 10 teams are coming here with that purpose in mind."

3-Point Shot Has Become a Major OU Weapon

Posted March 12, 2014 at 2:31 p.m. by Mike Houck

Entering this season, 3-point shooting was a significant question mark for the Sooners. Last year's team shot just 32.3 percent from behind the arc, OU's lowest figure in the 27-year history of the 3-point line. On top of that, this year's squad lost Steven Pledger, a senior last season who shot 36.4 percent and led OU with 71 treys. This year's returning players combined to shoot just 27.6 percent last year with 61 total makes.

Turns out, OU's 3-point shooting has been a strength this season. And a major one at that. The Sooners are shooting 38.0 percent from long distance this year and lead the Big 12 with their 8.4 treys per game (261 total makes). OU was even better in Big 12 play, shooting 38.3 percent and averaging 9.2 conversions, both league highs. The 9.2 3-pointers per conference game were the second most by any Big 12 team over the last seven seasons.

Big 12 Championship Trophy

Sophomore guard Buddy Hield leads the Sooners and ranks third in the Big 12 with his 2.8 3-pointers per game. He has made at least three treys in six straight contests and in nine of the last 10. He is shooting 40.2 percent this year after shooting 23.8 percent last season.

Why the major improvement for OU?

"Everybody put in a lot of time in the gym last summer on their own," said Hield, who tied Baylor's Brady Heslip this year for the Big 12 lead by averaging 3.4 treys per conference game. "We felt like we could be great shooters and play with anybody. We just put in a ton of time and it's paying off for us. 

"I think the 3-point shot does a lot for our team's confidence. When certain guys get going (from long range), you see the team just react. If one guys gets hot then somebody else is going to get hot, too. We're just trying to stay hot, stay hungry, keep progressing and try to go far in both the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments."

The Sooners' 11 games of at least 10 treys are their most in 14 years. They've reached double-digit makes in six of the last eight outings and have outscored their opponents by 108 points (249-141) from behind the line in those eight (an average of +13.5 per game). Expect the Sooners to continue to seek the 3-point shot in the postseason. It's been treating them well.

Practice in KC

Sooners Mentally Prepared for Big Task

Posted March 12, 2014 at 1:15 p.m. by Chelsey Kraft

After a regular season during which they exceeded just about everyone's expectations, the Sooners enter this week's Big 12 Championship as the No. 2 seed.

OU, which was picked to tie for fifth in the conference during the preseason, starts the postseason with a 23-8 overall record, including a 12-6 mark in Big 12 play. The Sooners are ranked No. 17 in this week's AP Top 25 Poll and No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Against teams on its side of the bracket (Baylor, TCU, Texas and West Virginia), OU holds a 7-1 mark this season.

Since dropping back-to-back contests against Iowa State and West Virginia in early February, the Sooners are 6-2 overall, including three straight wins to close the regular season and sew up the No. 2 seed.

Big 12 Championship Trophy

Freshman Jordan Woodard said the team's mindset is strong entering the championship.

"I think it's great, probably the best of the season so far," Woodard said today after the team practiced at Rockhurst University. "It's getting better day by day, too."

Teammate Cameron Clark echoed that the squad is in a good spot mentally right now.

"We are focused," Clark said. "We are trying to not lose any more games, and we know that we've got a big game coming up tomorrow against TCU or Baylor."



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