TUESDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma (6-8, 0-3 Big 12) hits the Lloyd Noble Center court for the first time in 2017 when it hosts No. 2/2 Kansas (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) for ESPN’s Super Tuesday. Kansas has won 14 games in a row while the Sooners are looking to snap a six-game losing streak. An unranked Sooner team has defeated a top five opponent on five occasions in program history (three of which have been against KU) – most recently when OU topped No. 5 Kansas, 76-66, on Feb. 9, 2013. Should Oklahoma be victorious Tuesday, it will be the first time a sub-.500 OU team has ever defeated a top five opponent.
Tuesday’s matchup is the fourth game in a loaded five-game stretch to open Big 12 play. OU’s first five opponents (No. 1/1 Baylor, TCU, No. 25/RV Kansas State, No. 2/2 Kansas and Texas Tech) combine for a record of 66-9 (.880).
ON THE AIR
Tuesday’s contest 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 ESPN2 with Bob Wischusen, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe calling the action.
Tickets to Tuesday's game are still available on SoonerSports.com.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Through three Big 12 games, Oklahoma boasts a conference-best 29.3 bench points per game in league competition. The Sooners are one of only four Big 12 squads to average over 20 bench points in league games as the conference averages 17.8 per contest. OU has been paced in Big 12 play by a team-leading 13.3 points per game from freshman guard Kameron McGusty. The freshman has led the Sooners in scoring the past two games, scoring 11 points at TCU on Jan. 3 before producing a career-high 20 points at Kansas State on Jan. 7. McGusty’s performance against K-State was the first 20-point game by a freshman since Jordan Woodard in 2014 and the most points scored by a Sooner off the bench since Romero Osby notched 22 in 2012.
• One of the youngest teams in both the Big 12 and the nation, Oklahoma has seen its freshmen and sophomores play a large role for the Sooners this season. The Sooner roster boasts 11 underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) – the most of any OU team in the Lon Kruger era and the most of any Big 12 roster this season. The young Sooners have received ample experience through their first three Big 12 contests. OU freshmen have played a total of 257 minutes (most in Big 12) and have scored 46.8 percent of OU’s points in Big 12 play - the highest percentage in the conference. Sooner underclassmen rank second in the Big 12 in total minutes played in conference competition (464) and have scored 74.3 percent of Oklahoma’s points the past three games (second in Big 12).
• Entering the month of January without a double-digit scoring game on the season, junior guard Darrion Strong-Moore racked up 10 points for the second-consecutive game in Saturday's game against Kansas State. Strong-Moore shot 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range while dishing out four assists in his starting debut. In three games of Big 12 play, Strong-Moore is averaging 8.7 points (second on team) while shooting 50 percent from both the field (10-of-20) and 3-point range (6-of-12).
• Freshman forward Matt Freeman sunk a 3-pointer for the fourth consecutive game on Saturday. The freshman has sunk a deep ball in six of his last seven outings and is shooting 4-of-8 (.500) from 3-point range during Big 12 competition.
• The Sooners look to snap a six-game losing streak on Tuesday against Kansas. Despite losing eight games this season, the Sooners have found themselves with a chance to win in almost every contest this year. Oklahoma has led at halftime in five of its eight losses and has led at the half in two of its three true road games this season (at Wisconsin on Dec. 3 and at TCU on Jan. 3). Five of OU’s eight losses have been decided by six points or less.
LOOKING BACK AT KANSAS STATE
• After trailing by 16 at halftime, Oklahoma (6-8, 0-3 Big 12) fought back to within six before falling to Kansas State (13-2, 2-1) on the road, 75-64. The Sooners shot 15-of-22 (.682) from the field in the second half – its best field goal percentage in any half this season.
• The Sooners shot 6-of-11 (.545) from behind the 3-point line – their highest 3-point percentage of the season and the third game of making 50 percent or more of their shots from downtown.
• From the field, Oklahoma shot 25-of-48 (.521), marking its fifth game of shooting above 50 percent. Saturday was the first time this year that OU made more than half of its shots in a loss.
• Freshman guard Kameron McGusty scored a career-high 20 points to lead the Sooners.
In three games of Big 12 play, Darrion Strong-Moore is averaging 8.7 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field (10-of-20) and 3-point range (6-of-12).
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 14 games, scoring 10.9 points per game on .422 shooting from the field and .481 from 3-point range (third 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 131 on the season (averaging 9.4 per game).
• Oklahoma has seen potential from all four of its scholarship freshmen as the youngest Sooners have combined to produce 10 games of double-digit scoring - most recently a 20-point showing from Kameron McGusty against Kansas State (Jan. 7).
• The Sooners and Jayhawks have met 210 previous times - the second most contests against any opponent in Oklahoma history. The Sooners have only faced Oklahoma State (231 games) more times than the Jayhawks.
• Kansas leads the overall series, 144-66. The Jayhawks are the only Big 12 team to own a winning record all-time against the Sooners. KU leads the series in Norman, 49-42.
• The Jayhawks swept the Sooners last season in two closely-contested matchups that included a triple-overtime thriller at Allen Fieldhouse. Buddy Hield scored 46 points in the 109-106 loss and shot 8-of-15 from 3-point range.
• The Sooners welcome Texas Tech to Norman for a Saturday night meeting on Jan. 14. The 7:30 contest airs on ESPNU. Tickets are available on SoonerSports.com.
• Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 37-22, and is 22-7 against the Red Raiders in Norman. The Sooners have won the past two games at LNC by a combined 69 points (91-67 in 2016, 81-36 in 2015).
• OU and Tech split the 2015-16 series with the home team winning each contest.