|| Enough Said
Mention the word "Bedlam" around the Oklahoma Sooners this week and their eyes instantly light up. While Oklahoma has officially opened conference play and every game moving forward is pivotal, Saturday's home contest against Oklahoma State (2 p.m. CT) adds a little something.
Junior forward Amath M'Baye experienced that something while sitting out last year, but like the rest of his teammates, can't wait to be on the floor for Bedlam on Saturday.
"People get excited about it," M'Baye said. "I've known about it even before I arrived here. It's something I'm really looking forward to. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I know it was a lot of fun for other guys last year and it was fun for me to share the experience with them from the bench. But being able to play, I'm really looking forward to it."
The Sooners have bested OSU in Norman on eight straight occasions and own a 128-94 all-time record against the Cowboys. Junior forward Tyler Neal, an Oklahoma City native, has seen quite a few of those, and wants to keep that trend going.
"Going to football and basketball games growing up, to see the intensity that the guys that have come before us played with, it's exciting," Neal said. "It's a different game, especially from being around here. To see all the history in the past and to be a part of it is really an honor."
Tickets for Saturday's 2 p.m. tip against OSU at the Lloyd Noble Center are still available.
|| Pledger's Production Up
Through OU's first nine games this season, senior guard Steven Pledger averaged 10.1 points. Over the last four outings, however, he is averaging 14.8 points.
The reason for the sudden increase?
Primarily it's because Pledger is shooting a lot more often. Over the season's first nine games, he attempted 7.7 field goals (5.3 3-pointers) per contest. In four games since, he is launching an average of 14.3 shots (8.0 3-pointers). He has scored in double figures in six straight games.
"I've just taken it upon myself to shoot more and not pass up shots," said Pledger, who entered the season as the Big 12's leading returning scorer from last year at 16.2 ppg. "My teammates need me to shoot, so I'm going to shoot. I know that as I go the team goes. If I'm not hitting, then we're probably struggling as a team. I know I have to go out there and hit shots."
Fellow senior Romero Osby said Pledger's recent aggressive streak has been welcome -- and necessary.
"When he's knocking down shots, it opens so many other things for everybody else because they can't leave him," Osby said. "When he's shooting and he's knocking down his shot, it's really big for us and we're a different team offensively."
|| Road Warriors
With three true road wins and three triumphs at neutral-court sites, Oklahoma entered the week with six victories away from home, the most of any Big 12 school. Those six wins are one of the big reasons the Sooners' RPI stands at No. 19 nationally. They are also why many postseason prognosticators have OU pegged as an NCAA Tournament participant.
OU's 6-2 record away from home is in stark contrast to recent seasons. Last year the Sooners posted a 4-11 mark away from Lloyd Noble Center, and two years ago they went 2-14. They still have at least nine more opportunities for road wins.
"The older guys are a little more experienced and have a better idea of what it takes," head coach Lon Kruger said. "The younger guys are doing a terrific job, give us more athletic ability, more depth and more talent. That's a good combination."
Playing eight road games so far this season has been a challenge, but one that the Sooners are grateful for and one that could prove valuable throughout Big 12 play.
"We're going out there and fighting," Osby said. "We have guys that really want to be here and want to be a part of the program. We have a lot more depth this year. Going on the road, we have the opportunity to put a lot of people on the floor, wear other teams down and toward the end of the game, hit them with a punch. It's been good for us on the road. I think Coach scheduling so many road games early in the season has really benefited us."
Oklahoma hosts Bedlam on Saturday and continues Big 12 play at home Wednesday vs. Texas Tech:
Tickets | Full Schedule
The Sooners opened Big 12 play last Saturday with a convincing 67-57 comeback win at West Virginia:
KEYS TO BEDLAM
The Sooners spoke about what it will take to come away with a victory vs. Oklahoma State on Saturday:
Sooners Prepare for Bedlam
Senior F Romero Osby
"(Bedlam) means a battle. It's against two schools that have a tradition of not liking each other. We're in the same state so we're always going for bragging rights even though we play twice a year. You always want to get the one at home at least. It's going to be big for us this weekend."
Head Coach Lon Kruger
"It always raises the interest level a little bit. Again, every game is huge. Any time you have an in-state rivalry like that, it takes on a little bit of an added flair. Oklahoma State has a really good basketball game. That's something our guys respect a great deal and we know we'll have to play very well."
Junior F Amath M'Baye
"I think it's a good experience especially coming into Big 12 (play). To be honest with you, I'm tired of playing away from home. I love playing in the Lloyd Noble Center. I'm really looking forward to playing there on Saturday. It's a really good experience for all of us to get a taste of it and it's going to help us out throughout the season."
The Sooners own a 128-94 all-time series lead against Oklahoma State and are 80-26 against the Cowboys in Norman. OU has won eight straight Bedlam meetings at Lloyd Noble Center and 11 of the last 12.
Oklahoma is ranked 19th in this week's initial edition of the NCAA's RPI. Kansas (No. 2) is the only other Big 12 team ranked in the top 34.
In Tuesday's edition of Bracketology on ESPN.com, noted "bracketologist" Joe Lunardi had the Sooners projected as a No. 11 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament, facing No. 5 seed Wichita in the East Region (Kansas City, Mo.).
2012-13 Game Notes
Senior F Romero Osby
Over OU's first seven games, Romero Osby averaged 11.1 points on .421 field goal and .744 free throw shooting. Over the last six games, he is averaging 15.7 points on .633 field goal and perfect 31-for-31 free throw shooting. His 31 consecutive free throw makes are six shy of the school record set by Nate Carter in 2006-07.
Freshman G Buddy Hield
In his three games as a starter (OU's last three contests), Buddy Hield has racked up 15 assists while committing just four turnovers. That's after totaling six assists and 21 turnovers in the season's first 10 games.
Senior F Andrew Fitzgerald
Andrew Fitzgerald is just 21 points shy of becoming the 39th member of OU's 1,000-point club. Fellow senior Steven Pledger is just one point shy of tying Brent Price (1,173 points) for 26th place in school history and eight points shy of tying Les Lane (1,180) for 25th place.
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