Sooners Open Postseason with Bedlam Rematch
WEDNESDAY'S GAME BASICS
The madness of March starts on Wednesday night as Oklahoma (18-12, 8-10 Big 12) gets a rare third edition of Bedlam against Oklahoma State (18-13, 8-10 Big 12). After splitting the regular season series, the Bedlam rubber match heads to Kansas City in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship at Sprint Center. Oklahoma looks to earn multiple wins against Oklahoma State for the fourth time in the last five years. The Sooners won the first meeting of the season by 20 in Norman before falling by two in overtime in Stillwater.
ON THE AIR
Wednesday’s matchup will tip 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 Dave Flemming, Robbie Hummel and Kris Budden calling the action.
• Oklahoma is on the hunt for its fourth Big 12 Championship tournament title, opening play in Kansas City on Wednesday against Oklahoma State. The Sooners will be battling for a conference crown while continuing to build their postseason resume. Oklahoma leads the nation in both wins against top-25 opponents (six) and top-10 foes (four). According to the NCAA’s RPI, Oklahoma boasts the eighth-most “Quadrant 1” wins (six) and are one of only seven teams with at least six Quadrant 1 wins and zero Quadrant 3 or 4 losses. ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index lists Oklahoma’s schedule as the second toughest in the nation.
• Big 12 Freshman of the Year Trae Young will be making his first trip to the Big 12 Championship. Young leads the nation in scoring (27.5 points per game) and assists (8.9). No player in recorded NCAA history has finished a season leading the country in both scoring and assists. If the season ended today, Young’s averages for both points and assists would be the highest by any player in Big 12 history.
• The Sooners will look for continued production on the wing from Christian James and Kameron McGusty. The guards have combined to average 27.5 points over the last four games. Oklahoma is 4-1 this season when McGusty scores at least 15 points and 6-2 when James makes at least three 3-pointers.
Kameron McGusty is coming off of an 18-point showing against Iowa State. The Sooners are 4-1 this season when he reaches 15 points.
SERIES HISTORY VS. OKLAHOMA STATE
• Wednesday’s game is Oklahoma’s 236th meeting with Oklahoma State, with the Sooners winning 18 of the last 28 Bedlam meetings - including eight of the last 11. OU owns a 137-98 all-time advantage in the series, with the series tied 7-7 when meeting on a neutral court. OU is 10-5 against the Cowboys during the Lon Kruger era (1-0 on neutral court).
• The Sooners and Cowboys will face off in the postseason for the seventh time. Oklahoma State holds a 4-2 advantage when facing the Sooners in the conference tournament. The Sooners are 1-3 against the Cowboys in the Big 12 Championship and were 1-1 in the Big Eight Tournament. OU won the most recent “Bedlam Three” game, knocking off the Cowboys in the 2015 Big 12 Championships’s quarterfinals, 64-49.
• The Bedlam rivals split the regular season meetings, with the home team winning each matchup. This is just the third time a postseason meeting between the Sooners and Cowboys has served as the rubber match of the Bedlam Series.
OKLAHOMA IN THE BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
• Oklahoma opens Big 12 Championship play as the ninth seed. 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 21 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 third in the conference behind Kansas’ eight and Iowa State’s fou. The Sooners have made five Big 12 Championship title game appearances in the event’s 21 years. OU’s 10 consecutive league tournament game victories (2001-04) are tied with Kansas for the most in event history.
• The Sooners are 22-18 all-time in the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma boasts the second-best winning percentage (.550) in Big 12 Championship play among the conference’s current 10 teams. Only Kansas (.789) owns a better all-time winning percentage in the annual tournament.
• Recent trends favor the Sooners in the opening round. In the past 11 Big 12 Championships, the No. 9 seed has gone 8-3 against the No. 8 seed.
• Oklahoma has played in the first round of the four-round tournament on seven occasions, going 4-3 in those games.
PLAY FAST, SCORE BUCKETS
• Oklahoma owns a 18-12 record behind the fourth-highest-scoring offense in the nation. The Sooners average 86.0 points per game and have scored at least 90 points in 12 contests - including six games in triple digits.
• The Sooners aren’t just scoring in bunches - they’re playing fast. Oklahoma is third in the nation and first among major conferences in KenPom.com’s adjusted tempo rankings (possesions per 40 minutes adjusted to the opponenet) with 76.3. Oklahoma’s average possession is 14.0 seconds long, the fastest among major conferences and second-fastest overall.
• Oklahoma is 9-1 when shooting above 50 percent, 13-1 when making at least 10 3-pointers and 7-0 when it hands out at least 20 assists.
• Oklahoma has scored 45 or more points in 22 of its 60 halves this season and has scored at least 40 points before halftime in all but 10 contests.
• The Sooners have scored at least 100 points in six games – their most in a season since the 1992-93 season, when Oklahoma reached the century mark in nine games. Oklahoma’s six triple-digit games are the second-most in a season by an Big 12 team since the conference was formed in 1996. The 2001-02 Kansas squad (12 games) is the only team with more.
OH, TO BE YOUNG...
• Oklahoma’s offensive efforts have been led by the scoring and passing of freshman guard Trae Young. A 6-2 guard from Norman, Young leads the nation in scoring (27.5 points per game) and assists (8.9). No player in recorded NCAA history has finished a season leading the country in both scoring and assists. If the season ended today, Young’s averages for both points and assists would be the highest by any player in Big 12 history. The freshman earned the regular season’s scoring title with plenty of distance between him and the rest of the conference. Young scored 281 more points than the league’s second-highest scorer (Devonte’ Graham of Kansas) and averaged at least 9.9 points more than any other player in the conference. The 9.9 points per game is the largest gap between a major conference’s leading scorer and second-leading scorer in at least 20 years.
• In the week leading up to the Big 12 Championship, Young’s list of accomplishments continued to grow through various national recognitions. On Sunday, he was chosen as the Big 12 Conference’s Freshman of the Year and was a unanimous selection for the All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. Young was also named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, a Naismith Trophy semifinalist and selected for the national ballot for the Wooden Award.
• Young has totaled 826 points in his freshman season – the most ever in a regular season by a Big 12 player. He is just the second player from a major conference to reach 800 points during the regular season in the past 20 years, joining JJ Redick of Duke (833 in 2005-06). Young is also the only freshman in Division I basketball to score 800 points in a regular season during the Big 12 era.
• The freshman is putting up his scoring numbers while passing out a nation-leading 267 assists. He is the second player in NCAA Division I history to total 800 points and 250 assists in the same season and the first ever from a major conference. Oakland’s Key Felder (2015-16) is the only other Division I player to produce an 800-point, 250-assist season since the NCAA began tracking assists in 1983.
• Young’s 267 dimes rank fifth for most by a freshman in NCAA history - 21 shy of the NCAA record (288) set by Duke’s Bobby Hurley in 1989-90. Young is five assists shy of tying of the Big 12’s freshman assists record, set by T.J. Ford of Texas (273 in 2001-02).
UP NEXT: KANSAS
• Should the Sooners advance to the quarterfinals, they will face top-seeded Kansas at 1:30 p.m. CT on Thursday. The Sooners and Jayhawks have not met in the conference tournament since 2007. The Jayhawks are 7-4 against the Sooners in conference tournaments, but the series is tied 2-2 for Big 12 tournament games with OU winning two of the last three.
• Kansas is the only Big 12 team with a winning all-time record against the Sooners, leading the series 147-67. The Jayhawks are 21-8 against the Sooners on neutral courts.
• The Sooners defeated the Jayhawks in the first meeting of the season, 85-80, in Norman. KU evened the season series in Lawrence, 104-74.