TUESDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma (6-6, 0-1 Big 12) welcomes in the new year by hitting the road for the first time during Big 12 play. The Sooners head south to Fort Worth, Texas, where TCU (11-2, 0-1 Big 12) is off to a hot start under first year head coach Jamie Dixon. The matchup with the Horned Frogs (receiving votes in both AP and Coaches polls) is the second game in a loaded five-game stretch to open Big 12 play. OU’s first five opponents (No. 2/4 Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, No. 3/3 Kansas and Texas Tech) combine for a record of 59-6.
ON THE AIR
The Big 12 road opener tips off at 8 p.m. CT and air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with Mitch Holthus and Bryndon Manzer calling the action.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Head coach Lon Kruger has used five different starting lineups throughout the first 12 games of the 2016-17 season. In Oklahoma’s past three games, Kruger has started freshman Jordan Shepherd at point guard. Shepherd entered his first start (Dec. 17 vs. Memphis) averaging just 2.7 points and 8.8 minutes in his first nine games and had seen just one minute of action in the previous contest, but responded to the shake-up by scoring a career-high 18 points in his first career start. The freshman followed up his debut with a team-high 13 points against Auburn on Dec. 21. Shepherd is averaging 11.0 points per game since joining the starting lineup.
• Sophomore guard Rashard Odomes has scored in double figures seven times this season and ranks third on the team with 9.7 points per game. Odomes has seen one of the largest role increases for Oklahoma this season. After averaging 1.9 points (35 total points) in just 6.1 minutes per game in 2015-16, he has already tripled his total points output with 116 on the season in 23.7 minutes per contest. Odomes saw action in only six Big 12 contests last season, totaling 16 minutes. He surpassed last season’s Big 12 minute total in just one game this season, playing 18 minutes in OU’s conference opener against Baylor.
• The young Sooners will look for continued production from its underclassmen. Freshmen and sophomores scored 72 percent of OU’s points in the conference opener against Baylor while seven underclassmen saw at least 13 minutes of action in the contest. Seven of OU’s top nine scorers are in their first two seasons of elligibility.
• Junior forward Khadeem Lattin has already proven himself as one of the top shot blockers in Oklahoma program history. After 83 career games for the Sooners, Lattin ranks fourth in the OU record book in career blocks with 132. Lattin joined the top four with three blocks in OU's Big 12 opener against Baylor.
• The Sooners are 3-2 in Big 12 road openers under Lon Kruger, with bost losses coming to top-10 opponents (No. 7 Missouri in 2012 and No. 1 Kansas in 2016).
LOOKING BACK AT BAYLOR
• Oklahoma (6-6) fell to No. 4 Baylor (13-0), 76-50, on Friday at Lloyd Noble Center. OU dropped a Big 12 opener for just the second time in the Lon Kruger era. Oklahoma is now 4-2 in the first game of Big 12 competition under Kruger.
• Sophomore guard Christian James notched his 10th double-digit scoring performance of the season with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. James, who entered Friday’s contest ranked second in the Big 12 for 3-point percentage, went 3-of-6 from behind the arc. The guard is shooting 24-of-47 (.511) from 3-point range this season.
• Sophomore guard Rashard Odomes pulled down a career-high-tying seven rebounds while scoring five points with two assists.
• The Sooner bench outscored Baylor’s reserves, 24-22, behind nine points from freshman guard Kameron McGusty. Freshman forward Matt Freeman added seven points and a career-best four rebounds.
• Freshmen and sophomores scored 36 of OU’s 50 points. Seven underclassmen saw at least 13 minutes of action.
Khadeem Lattin blocked three shots against Baylor to move into fourth on OU's all-time career blocks list.
NEW ROLES AND NEW FACES
• After losing the senior trio of Isaiah Cousins, Buddy Hield and Ryan Spangler, the Sooners are looking to a roster that features 11 underclassmen (most of the Kruger era) to continue its development and growth as the season progresses. OU has benefited from a dramatic increase in scoring from guards Christian James and Rashard Odomes. After averaging 2.9 points per game in 2015-16, James is the second leading scorer for the Sooners through nine games, scoring 12.3 points per game on .448 shooting from the field and .511 from 3-point range (second in Big 12). James is the only returning Big 12 player to average less than 3.0 points in 2015-16 and over 12.0 points in 2016-17. Tallying just 35 total points in 2015-16 (1.9 per game), Odomes has already tripled his total points output with 116 on the season (averaging 9.7 per game).
• Oklahoma has seen potential from all four of its scholarship freshmen as the youngest Sooners have combined to produce seven games of double-digit scoring - most recently a 13-point showing from Jordan Shepherd in his second collegiate start (Dec. 21 vs. Auburn).
• The Sooners own an 18-2 record over the Horned Frogs and have won six consecutive games over TCU. OU is 8-1 all-time against TCU in Fort Worth, with the only loss coming in 2013.
• Since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012, the Sooners have gone 7-1 against the Frogs.
• Tuesday will be the first meeting between Lon Kruger and TCU head coach Jamie Dixon.
• Oklahoma and Kansas State will face off for the 204th time on Saturday, Jan. 7 in Manhattan, Kan. The 2 p.m. contest will air on ESPNews.
• The Sooners lead the all-time series 106-97 while the Wildcats own a 59-36 advantage over OU when playing in Manhattan. K-State has won the last four games against Oklahoma inside Bramlage Coliseum.
• Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger played for Kansas State from 1970-74. He was named the Big Eight Player of the Year in 1973 and 1974. In 2003, Kruger was inducted into the Kansas State Hall of Fame. His number was retired at K-State in 2006.