WEDNESDAY'S GAME BASICS
The Sooners know the stakes. It’s win or go home in the city of blues, barbeque and basketball. Oklahoma (11-19, 5-13 Big 12) opens its week in Kansas City against TCU (17-14, 6-12 Big 12) for the first round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. The Sooners and Horned Frogs are fresh off of facing each other in the regular season finale on Saturday, which Oklahoma won, 73-68, in Norman. OU last faced the same team in back-to-back games when it met Texas A&M in the opening round of the 2012 Big 12 Championship after facing the Aggies in the last game of conference play.
The Sooners and Frogs have battled neck and neck in the first two meetings this season (both games decided by five or fewer points) and now the winner of the rubber match advances to face top-ranked Kansas on Thursday in the quarterfinals.
ON THE AIR
Wednesday’s contest tips off at 6 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 Jon Sciambi and Miles Simon calling the action.
OU IN THE BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
• Oklahoma opens Big 12 Championship play as the ninth seed – its lowest seeding in the Lon Kruger era. The Sooners look to make history, as a team seeded outside the top four has never won the Big 12 Championship title in the event’s 20 years. Low seeds have made runs before, as Baylor advanced to the title game as a nine seed in 2009 and 10th-seeded Missouri reached the finals in 1997.
• OU won postseason Big 12 Championship titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. OU’s three titles rank second in the conference behind only Kansas’ eight. The Sooners have made five Big 12 Championship title game appearances in the event’s 20 years. OU’s 10 consecutive league tournament game victories (2001-04) are tied with Kansas for the most in event history.
• The Sooners are 22-17 all-time in the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma boasts the second-best winning percentage (.564) in Big 12 Championship play among the conference’s current 10 teams. Only Kansas (.804) owns a better all-time winning percentage in the annual tournament.
• Recent trends favor the Sooners in the opening round. In the past 10 Big 12 Championships, the No. 9 seed has gone 8-2 against the No. 8 seed.
• The Sooners have won their first game in two straight Big 12 Championships, topping Iowa State in 2016 and Oklahoma State in 2015. Both wins came in the quarterfinals.
• Oklahoma has played in the first round of the four-round tournament on six occasions, going 4-2 in those games.
OKLAHOMA VS. TCU SERIES HISTORY
• Oklahoma owns a 19-3 all-time record against the Horned Frogs and has won 11 of the last 13 meetings - including OU’s regular season finale on Saturday. The Sooners topped the Frogs, 73-68, at Lloyd Noble Center.
• OU is 8-2 against TCU since the Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012-13. The Sooners and Horned Frogs have never met in the Big 12 Championship.
• The two teams split the only two neutral site meetings in the series. Oklahoma won in 1946 (44-30) and the Frogs were victorious in 1987 (95-82). Both neutral site games were played in Oklahoma City as part of the All-College Classic.
• Both of this season’s previous meetings between Oklahoma and TCU have come down to the wire with OU outscoring the Frogs, 130-128, in total. TCU took the first game on Jan. 3, 60-57, in Fort Worth while the Sooners won the rematch on March 4, 73-68. In both games, the losing team had a lead in the final five minutes. Despite the close finishes, Oklahoma has only trailed TCU for a total of 10 and a half minutes this season.
• The Sooners’ two biggest threats against the Horned Frogs have both been freshmen. Guard Kameron McGusty and Kristian Doolittle have combined to score 60 points in two outings against the Frogs. Doolittle is averaging a near double-double in the two games with 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while McGusty is averaging 16.5 points on 12-of-25 shooting.
LAST MEETING AGAINST TCU
• Oklahoma (11-19, 5-13 Big 12) closed out the regular season with a 73-68 win against TCU (17-14, 6-12 Big 12) at Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday. The Sooners have won three consecutive home games.
• OU trailed by six midway through the second half and by again by one point (63-62) with two minutes remaining. The Sooner outscored the Frogs 11-5 in the final two minutes to capture the win.
• Freshman guard Kameron McGusty led the Sooners by tying a career-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting (2-of-3 from 3-point range). Fellow freshman Kristian Doolittle put together his third double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The forward leads the team in double-doubles and has seven games of double-digit scoring.
• Freshman guard Jordan Shepherd added six points, two rebounds and two assists to give the Sooners a combined 47 points from freshmen.
• Junior forward Khadeem Lattin continued his recent hot streak by totaling seven points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and a pair of steals.
• The Sooners pulled down 41 rebounds and scored 40 points in the paint. During the past three games, OU is averaging 36.7 paint points. Saturday was the first game all season where OU had two players (Doolittle and Lattin) collect at least 10 rebounds.
• Oklahoma committed a season-low seven turnovers. The Sooners had not committed less than nine miscues all season.
• Kenrich Williams led the Frogs with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Vlad Brodziansky also notched 17 points while Alex Robinson dished out a game-high six assists.
The Sooners open Big 12 Championship play against TCU, days after closing the regular season with a win over the Horned Frogs.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• 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 in 15 Big 12 contests.
• Junior forward Khadeem Lattin continued his recent hot streak by totaling seven points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and a pair of steals in Saturday’s game against TCU. In his last three games, Lattin is averaging 12.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 1.0 steals. With five blocks against TCU on Saturday, Lattin brought his season total to 64 rejections. He joins OU legends Stacey King and Wayman Tisdale as the only Sooners to produce multiple seasons of more than 60 blocked shots. His performance also put Lattin on top of the Big 12 leaderboard for blocked shots during conference play for the second season in a row with 43 (2.4 per game). Lattin is just the fourth player in Big 12 history to lead the league in blocks during conference play for back-to-back seasons.
• A majority of the Sooners will be playing in their first Big 12 Championship this week in Kansas City. Of Oklahoma’s current top 10 scorers, six will be playing in their inaugural Big 12 Championship while the other four (Buford, James, Lattin, McNeace) averaged a combined 56.0 minutes per game in last season’s conference tournament.
• Among basketball “power six” schools (ACC, BigEAST, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12), Oklahoma ranks 14th in freshmen scoring (26.1 points per game) and 10th in freshmen minutes played (72.6 per game).
• Since losing Woodard to a season-ending knee injury, the Sooners have had to make up for his scoring as a team. Oklahoma has used a balanced scoring effort in the six games without Woodard, as eight Sooners are averaging over five points during that stretch. The Sooners have gone 3-3 since the injury and are being led in scoring by Odomes (13.0 points per game in the stretch), McGusty (12.8) and Doolittle (10.5).
• Should the Sooners win their first round game against TCU, they will have a quick turnaround and a tall task awaiting them Thursday. Oklahoma would advance to play No. 1/1 Kansas for the second time in an 11-day stretch. The Sooners and Jayhawks would face off in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT inside Sprint Center, airing on ESPN2.
• Kansas leads the overall series, 146-66. The Jayhawks are the only Big 12 team to own a winning all-time record against the Sooners. KU is 21-8 against the Sooners at a neutral site.
• The Sooners and Jayhawks haven’t met in the Big 12 Championship since 2007. Oklahoma is 2-2 against KU in the Big 12 Championship and 2-1 when played in Kansas City. OU is 4-7 all-time against Kansas when combining its record in the Big 12 Championship and Big Eight Tournament.