OU Set for 'Big Monday' Showdown at Kansas

Mitch Heckart
By Mitch Heckart
Associate Director of Communications
2/3 Kansas
Kansasoklahoma
3/2 Oklahoma
Jan. 4 | 8 p.m. CT | Lawrence, Kan.

MONDAY'S GAME BASICS

No. 3 Oklahoma hits the road for its first Big 12 road test of the season at No. 2 Kansas on ‘Big Monday’ at 8 p.m. CT inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. OU, which is 12-0 and tied for its best start in 28 years, is in its fifth season under head coach Lon Kruger. The Jayhawks are 12-1 this season (1-0 Big 12) and under the direction of Bill Self, now in his 13th campaign at KU.

Should KU and OU rank No. 1 and 2 when Monday’s AP Poll is released, it would mark the first time since 1990 that AP No. 1 played AP No. 2 with both teams hailing from the Big Eight/Big 12 (No. 1 OU 95, No. 2 KU 77 in Big Eight Tourney semifinals).

ON THE AIR

Monday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Scott Thompson announcing. The ‘Big Monday’ matchup will be televised by ESPN with Brent Musberger, Dick Vitale and Holly Rowe calling the action. 

GAMEDAY STORYLINES

• SCENE SETTER: No. 3 Oklahoma hits the road for its first Big 12 road test of the season at No. 2 Kansas on ‘Big Monday’ at 8 p.m. CT inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. OU, which is 12-0 and tied for its best start in 28 years, is in its fifth season under head coach Lon Kruger. The Jayhawks are 12-1 this season and under the direction of Bill Self, now in his 13th campaign at KU. Should KU and OU rank No. 1 and 2 when Monday’s AP Poll is released, it would mark the first time since 1990 that AP No. 1 played AP No. 2 with both teams hailing from the Big Eight/Big 12 (No. 1 OU 95, No. 2 KU 77 in Big Eight Tourney semifinals).

• SERVING TREYS: OU, one of just three remaining undefeated D-I teams, currently ranks third in the country in 3-point field goal percentage (.453) by hitting 121-267 of its shots from downtown this season. Oklahoma’s all-time record for 3-point field goal percentage in a campaign is .414 (1986-87). Five Sooners are averaging at least .425 from beyond the arc, led by Jordan Woodard, who is shooting a blistering .531 (26-49, avg. 2.2 3FGM). OU’s average of 10.1 3-point makes per game ranks first in the Big 12 and 17th nationally. 

• ON THE OFFENSIVE: The Sooners enter Monday’s game ranked in the top 10 in both scoring offense with 87.0 points per game (sixth) and scoring margin (+19.5, seventh) by holding opponents to just 67.5 points per contest. OU is led in scoring by 2015 Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield, who is averaging 24.7 points (fourth nationally, first among players from Power 5 conferences).

• THE BUCK(ETS) STOP HERE: OU is once again proving it is an elite team on defense, as 2015-16 opponents have struggled to score on the Sooners. OU ranks No. 9 in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.370), including 20th nationally in 3-point field goal defense (.290). On the season, OU foes are just 84-290 from downtown (compared to Oklahoma’s 121-268, .453 3FG% effort).

• STEADFAST SOONERS: Oklahoma isn’t short on experience or leadership this season. The quartet of Isaiah Cousins, Buddy Hield, Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard have each started every game (80 total) for OU the past three seasons, tallying 320 combined starts. With the addition of Khadeem Lattin (12 starts), Oklahoma boasts a starting five with 332 combined career starts. 

SCOUTING KANSAS 

• The Jayhawks rank third in nation in scoring at 88.3 points per game. Kansas is second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 46.0 percent. KU is also third nationally in scoring margin at +23.3 and fifth in field goal percentage at 51.6 percent.

• KU pulls down an average of 37.6 rebounds per game, which helps give the Jayhawks a +5.9 rebounding margin. The Jayhawks also average 18.6 assists, which stands 13th nationally, 8.5 steals and 4.4 blocked shots per contest.

• Junior G Wayne Selden Jr. is coming off a 24-point performance against Baylor (1/2) where he was 5-for-6 from 3-point range. Selden leads KU with a 15.5 scoring average which is fifth in the Big 12. He leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 55.4 percent and is second in the conference with 2.8 3-pointers made per game. 

• Senior F Perry Ellis scored 17 points and had six rebounds against Baylor (1/2) and is averaging 15.2 points per game, which is sixth in the Big 12. Ellis leads KU and is 10th in the league with a 6.2 rebound average.

• Junior G Frank Mason III has 28 assists and six turnovers in his last five games. He scores 13.1 points per contest and averages 4.0 rebounds per outing. Mason’s 23 steals are second most on the team behind sophomore G Devonte’ Graham’s 25. Mason is tied for seventh in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.8 and his 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio is 12th in NCAA Division I. Graham is fifth in the conference at 1.9 steals per game. He averages 10.5 points per contest and is second in the Big 12, sixth nationally, in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.0.

• Senior F Hunter Mickelson (3.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, team-high 19 blocked shots) rounds out the KU starters. He is coming off a seven-point, six-rebound and three-blocked shot performance against Baylor (1/2).

• Junior G Brannen Greene is a 3-point specialist who scores 8.9 points per game. He is 13-for-21 (61.9 percent) from beyond the arc this season.

QUICK SHOTS

• Oklahoma’s 12-0 start is tied for their best in 28 years. The 2008-09 Sooners also began 12-0. The last team with a better start to a season was the 1987-88 Sooners (14-0). That team played in the national championship game.

• Should KU and OU rank No. 1 and 2 when Monday’s AP Poll is released, it would mark the first time since 1990 that AP No. 1 played AP No. 2 with both teams from Big Eight/Big 12 (No. 1 OU 95, No. 2 KU 77 in Big Eight Tourney semifinals). Last time AP No. 1 played AP No. 2 from the same conference was 2007 (No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 1 Wisconsin 49-48 at home).

• Four of Oklahoma’s five starters are averaging better than 44 percent from 3-point range. Collectively, the group is averaging .488 (102-209) from deep (Khadeem Lattin hasn’t attempted a 3).

• OU has made at least 10 treys in seven games this season. In 35 contests last year, the Sooners registered seven games of double-digit 3-point makes.

• OU enters Monday’s contest having scored at least 80 points in six straight games and in 10 of 12 total contests this season.

• Buddy Hield has scored 20 or more points in six straight games, the first Sooner to accomplish the feat since Corey Brewer (1997-98, seven straight).

• Hield has tallied a Big 12-best 296 points this season (24.7 ppg), which is 41 points higher than second place Georges Niang of Iowa State (255).

• Hield is averaging a Big 12-best 24.7 ppg, more than five ppg greater than second-place Niang (19.6).

• Hield is one of only three players in Big 12 history to average at least 24.0 points and 5.0 rebounds (Michael Beasley, 07-08, and Kevin Durant, 06-07).

• Through 12 games this season, Jordan Woodard is averaging 13.9 points and 4.0 rebounds. He’s shooting .482 (53-110) from the floor, .531 (26-49) from 3-point range and .897 (35-39) from the charity stripe. Comparatively, last season Woodard averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting .361 (90-249) from the field and .254 (17-67) from long distance.

• Ryan Spangler is one of 22 players in college basketball averaging at least 10 points and 10 boards.

CHASE FOR 1K, HIELD MOVING ON UP

• Junior Jordan Woodard and senior Ryan Spangler are on the cusp of scoring 1,000 points in their respective OU careers. Woodard needs 166 points and Spangler 212 and to be added to the current 42-member list at OU.

• In OU’s game vs. Harvard on Dec. 25, senior Isaiah Cousins surpassed the 1k scoring mark in his career (now has 1,016 points at OU).

• With Buddy Hield’s 296 combined points this season, the senior has become the school’s 9th all-time leading scorer with 1,662 career points. He has passed Eduardo Najera (1,646) Don Sidle (1,548), John McCullough (1,507 career points), Chucky Barnett (1,462), Harvey Grant (1,391) and Steven Pledger (1,392) all this season. Additionally, Hield’s 241 3-point FG makes ranks tied-third all-time at OU.

HIELD'S HOT START

• OU guard Buddy Hield is off to a hot start to begin his senior season. The Bahamas native is averaging 24.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals in 31.8 minutes. He is shooting 49.5 percent (95-192) from the field, 49.4 percent (39-79) from long distance and 90.5 percent (67-74) from the charity stripe.

• His 24.7 points per game average ranks first among Big 12 players this season and fourth nationally (first among Power 5 conference players). His 49.4 3FG% ranks sixth in the country. He has scored at least 20 points in 10 of 12 games (including six straight) this season after doing it 13 times in 35 games last year.

CALLING ON ALL RESERVES

• The Sooners are getting significantly more production from their bench than a season ago. Through 12 games in 2015-16, OU’s reserves (excluding walk-ons) are averaging 63.9 minutes played (out of possible 200), 17.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Last season, Oklahoma’s reserves (excluding walk-ons) averaged 42.5 minutes played (out of possible 200), 11.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest (35 total games).

UP NEXT

• Oklahoma returns home to the Lloyd Noble Center to host Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 3:30 p.m. CT. The Sooners lead the Wildcats in the all-time series, 105-96. Last season, KSU defeated OU in both meetings (66-63 in Norman and 59-56 in Manhattan). The Sooners lead the all-time series in Norman, 60-27.

RELATED