Sooners Host Top-25 Matchup Saturday
SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
A top-25 matchup comes to Lloyd Noble Center for the first time this season when No. 23 Oklahoma (12-3, 1-2 Big 12) hosts No. 25 TCU (12-2, 1-1 Big 12) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Sooners are looking for their first win over a ranked opponent this season while the Horned Frogs are on the hunt for their first conference road win of the year. Oklahoma is 11-0 all-time when playing TCU in Norman. OU is coming off a seven-point loss to No. 8 Texas Tech on Tuesday. The Sooners are 2-0 in games after losses.
ON THE AIR
The afternoon Big 12 matchup will air on the Sooner Radio Network (107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. Chad McKee, Dan Hughes and Jessica Coody will call the action on Fox Sports Southwest. Fans with proper cable verification can also stream the game on the Fox Sports Go App.
Tickets are available starting at just $20 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
OU student tickets (for non-student season ticket holders) will also be available for $5 at the door on the day of each game, while supplies last (doors open to public 90 minutes before tipoff). OU students with season tickets will need to claim their tickets in advance via email, similar to home football games. Once claimed, those students may simply swipe their Sooner One Cards at the north entrance to enter.
IN THE BONUS
• Fans are encouraged to #ArriveSooner to avoid delays into the gates with enhanced screenings. OU's clear bag policy will also be in efffect. For more gameday tips at Lloyd Noble Center, visit the LNC's information page.
• Oklahoma has been attacking the glass all season and ranks second in the nation in defensive rebounding with 32.0 defensive boards per game. In OU’s battle with Texas Tech on Tuesday, the Sooners held the Red Raiders to just three offensive rebounds – the fewest OU has allowed since Feb. 6, 2012 against Missouri (also three). OU’s 43.1 total rebounds per game rank sixth in the country. The Sooners have three players ranked in the top 10 in rebounding in the Big 12: Christian James (fourth, 7.7), Brady Manek (fifth, 7.5) and Kristian Doolittle (10th, 6.3).
• Kristan Doolittle and Brady Manek have been key members of the OU offensive while big man Jamuni McNeace has been fighting an ankle injury. Doolittle and Manek have averaged a combined 25.8 points and 13.5 rebounds in their last six games. Doolittle has scored in double figures in four of the last five games while Manek has scored at least 13 points in five of his last six games.
• Freshman guard Jamal Bieniemy has dished out five assists off the bench in each of his past two games. The only scholarship freshman on the Oklahoma roster, Bieniemy boasts an assist/turnover ratio of 3.21, which ranks third among all Big 12 players and third nationally among freshmen. Despite only scoring 3.5 points per game, Bieniemy contributes with his composure as a ball handler/distributor and as one of the toughest defenders in the Sooner lineup.
Jamal Bieniemy boasts an assist/turnover ratio of 3.21 - the third best in the Big 12.
SERIES HISTORY: TCU
• OU owns a 21-4 all-time record against the Horned Frogs and has won 13 of the last 16 meetings. OU leads the series 10-3 since the Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012.
• TCU has never won in Norman, as the Sooners boast a perfect 11-0 record when hosting the Frogs.
• The Sooners and Horned Frogs faced off in a pair of tight contests last season, with OU coming out in front in both matchups. Oklahoma escaped Fort Worth with a comeback 90-89 victory on Dec. 30 and then won in overtime, 102-97, on Jan. 13.
• OU has won 20 of its last 22 games inside Lloyd Noble Center and 22 of its last 24 “home” games (includes victories in OKC and Tulsa). The Sooners have won six straight games at the LNC, last losing at home on Feb. 17, 2018 to Texas. Oklahoma is one of four Big 12 teams without a home loss this season.
• During the Kruger era, Oklahoma is 13-2 in home top-25 matchups.
• OU has won 28 of its last 58 games against teams ranked in the AP Top 25, but is 0-3 against ranked teams this season (all three games were away from home).
• With Kansas State coming to town on Wednesday, this two game stretch is the first time this season OU plays back-to-back games at Lloyd Noble Center.
• In the months of December and January, OU is holding its foes to 48-of-191 (.251) from 3-point range - the sixth lowest in the nation during that time.
• Oklahoma is the only school in the country with a win over a team from every major conference (Power Five + Big East).
• The Sooners are 11-1 when outrebounding their opponents. In its 12 wins, Oklahoma is winning the rebounding margin by an average of 7.2 boards.
• OU opponents are shooting 37.9 percent from the field – the second lowest opponent field goal percentage in the conference and 11th nationally.
• Oklahoma is second in the nation in defensive rebounding with 32.0 defensive boards per game. OU’s 43.1 total rebounds per game rank sixth in the country.
• The Sooners have three players ranked in the top 10 in rebounding in the Big 12: Christian James (fourth, 7.7), Brady Manek (fifth, 7.5) and Kristian Doolittle (10th, 6.3).
• Senior guard Christian James is fourth in the Big 12 for both scoring (16.9 points per game) and rebounding (7.7 boards). With 968 career points, James is 32 shy of becoming the 45th Sooner to eclipse 1,000 points in an Oklahoma uniform. James also owns 424 career rebounds. Only five Sooner guards have ever produced 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career.
• James failed to record a double-double in his first 104 collegiate games, but has produced at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in six of his eight games since. His six double-doubles are the second most in the Big 12.
• James also ranks third in the conference for made 3-point field goals (2.4 per game). He is the only Big 12 player averaging over 2.0 made 3-pointers and 7.0 rebounds.
• Sophomore forward Brady Manek ranks fifth in the Big 12 in rebounding with 7.6 boards per game. Manek averaged only 5.2 rebounds last season, but put on 20 pounds over the offseason to improve his physical presence in the paint. He has put together four double-doubles this season (had none his freshman year).
• The Sooners almost always have team success on nights that Manek is rolling. During his career, OU is 19-6 when Manek scores in double figures, 12-1 when he scores at least 15 points and 8-0 when he hit four or more 3-pointers.
• Graduate guard Miles Reynolds continues to make the most of his lone season with the Sooners, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for games played Dec. 17-25. Reynolds averaged 12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in Oklahoma’s two most recent wins (Creighton and at Northwestern) to earn the honor for the first time. Reynolds is Oklahoma’s third-leading scorer with season averages of 10.6 points, 2.9 rebound and 1.4 assists. He has reached double-digit scoring in six of his last nine outings.
• Graduate point guard Aaron Calixte ranks eighth in the conference in assists with 3.2 dimes per game. Calixte is averaging 8.7 points per game and has totaled 1,255 points in his career (1,125 came at Maine).
IN DEFENSE OF CHANGING STYLES
• The Sooners have completely shifted their style of play from 2017-18 to 2018-19. Head coach Lon Kruger has shown the flexibility to adjust his style of play to the personnel on his roster. Last season, the Sooners played a fast-tempo, high-scoring style through national rookie of the year Trae Young. As the first player to lead the country in scoring and assists, Young drove the Sooners offense to score 84.9 points per game – the fifth most of any team last season and the eighth most in program history. The Sooners’ 2017-18 tempo was the second fastest among major-conference teams with an average possession of only 14.0 seconds. Due to the speed of play and emphasis on free-flowing offense, the Sooners gave up an average of 81.7 points per game on the defensive end.
• This season, the Sooners are focusing much more on the defensive side – using their athleticism and length to force opponents deep into the shot clock and showing improvement in contesting shots. OU opponents are averaging 66.2 points per game and shooting 37.9 percent from the field (ranks second in the Big 12, 11th in the nation).
• Oklahoma’s defense has been especially disruptive late in the game. In OU’s 12 wins, its opponents are shooting a combined 33.8 percent (23.3 percent from 3) in the final 15 minutes of the game.
• OU has held its opponent to 60 or fewer points in four games.
• The Sooners have held their opponents to 30 or fewer points in the first half on six occasions this season (did so zero times last season).
• OU opponents have shot under 32 percent in five games this season.
DIFFERENT GUY EVERY NIGHT
• Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger has said all season that for the Sooners to be successful, they’ll need contributions from different guys each night. The Sooners have seen just that through 15 games as their roster features six players averaging at least six points.
• Eight of the nine Sooners in Kruger’s main rotation have at least three games of 10-or-more points.
• The Sooners have had at least three players reach double-digit scoring in all 12 of their wins. Oklahoma is averaging 3.5 players in double figures per game.
• Four different Sooners have led the team in scoring over OU’s last six games.
UP NEXT: KANSAS STATE
• Oklahoma remains at home when it hosts Kansas State on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The Sooners lead the all-time series, 108-99, and hold a 63-27 lead over the Wildcats in Norman. The Sooners have won four of their last five contests with K-State in Norman. The home team has won the last seven meetings.
• OU head coach Lon Kruger is 6-8 against his alma mater while coaching the Sooners.