January 5 | 1 p.m. | Norman
SATURDAY’S GAME BASICS
For the second year in a row, No. 23 Oklahoma (11-2, 0-1 Big 12) will open its conference home slate with a rivalry game against Oklahoma State (6-7, 0-1 Big 12). The 237th Bedlam meeting will tip at 1 p.m. CT in OU’s first Saturday home game of the season. The Sooners enter the conference home opener winning seven of their last eight games, falling on Wednesday to No. 5 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. The Cowboys also lost their conference opener, coming up short to Iowa State at home. Both state schools will look to bounce back and claim their first conference win of 2019.
ON THE AIR
The Bedlam 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, Bryndon Manzer 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.
OU will also be producing its first-ever Spanish television broadcast, airing on Fox Sports Oklahoma Plus. Oklahoma City Thunder Spanish radio broadcaster Eleno Ornelas will call the action alongside OU basketball alum Eduardo Najera.
Reserved-seat tickets for Saturday’s game are sold out, but a limited number of general admission and restricted view tickets remain available. General admission tickets for use in sections LN3-LN6 and N2-N4 can be purchased for $20 at SoonerSports.com/Tickets. Remaining general admission and restricted view tickets will be sold at the Lloyd Noble Center box office beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Fans can secure a general admission ticket to the Bedlam game along with OU home matchups against TCU (Jan. 12) and Vanderbilt (Jan. 26) for just $30 total. All three games included in the package are played on Saturday afternoons and will be general admission in the north end (student section). The Saturday Special package can be purchased here.
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.
• As Oklahoma continues to pride itself as one of the best defensive teams in the country, the Sooners have found success in shutting opponents down at the perimeter. In the months of December and January, OU is holding its foes to 30-of-121 (.248) from 3-point range – the 15th lowest in the nation during that time. In OU’s most recent outing, the Sooners held Kansas to 4-of-21 (.190) from behind the arc, which was KU’s fourth-worst 3-point percentage (on at least 20 attempts) at Allen Fieldhouse in the past two decades. The Sooners will put their 3-point defense to the test on Saturday when going up an OSU squad that’s shooting a Big 12-leading 38.6 percent from deep and sinking 8.6 treys per game.
• Junior forward Kristian Doolittle has continued to elevate his offensive game while also stepping up on defense in the absence of senior center Jamuni McNeace (ankle injury). Doolittle is averaging 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last three games while shooting 16-of-31 (.516) from the field. The junior hadn’t reached double-digit scoring since his freshman campaign, but has done so in all of his last three games.
• Despite playing without their starting center in the past month, the Sooners have still become one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Oklahoma leads the nation in defensive rebounds (32.5) and is ninth in total boards per game (42.9). OU has owned the glass while not having a single player average over eight rebounds. Instead, the Sooners have four players averaging at least five boards. Oklahoma is the only Big 12 team with multiple players totalling at least four double-doubles this season in Christian James (five) and Brady Manek (four).
Kristian Doolittle is averaging 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last three games.
SERIES HISTORY: OKLAHOMA STATE
• Saturday’s game is Oklahoma’s 237th meeting with Oklahoma State, with the Sooners owning a 137-99 all-time advantage in the series. Oklahoma is 85-27 when Bedlam is in Norman and has won 16 of its last 18 games against the Cowboys inside Lloyd Noble Center (losses came in 2004 and 2017).
• The Cowboys have won four of the last five meetings, including two of the three last season. OSU won in overtime in Stillwater and then eliminated the Sooners from the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. The Sooners had won seven consecutive Bedlam games from 2014-16 and have still won 18 of the last 29 meetings.
• The Sooners are 10-6 in Bedlam games (6-1 at home) under Lon Kruger. The 10 wins against Oklahoma State are tied with TCU for the most against an opponent during the Kruger era.
• Oklahoma is off to its fourth start of 11-2 (or better) during Kruger’s eight seasons as head coach (also third in the last four seasons). OU began the 2015-16 season 12-0 and saw a 12-1 start to its 2017-18 campaign.
• OU has won 19 of its last 21 games inside Lloyd Noble Center and 21 of its last 23 “home” games (includes victories in OKC and Tulsa). The Sooners have won five 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.
• Saturday’s matchup is just OU’s fourth game at Lloyd Noble Center this season. Ten of OU’s first 13 games this season were played outside of Norman. It is the fewest amount of games OU has played in Norman through 13 games since the start of the 1975-76 season when the Sooners only played three home games in their first 14 contests.
• With wins away from Norman over Florida, Dayton, Notre Dame, Wichita State, USC, and Creighton, Oklahoma’s strength of schedule and success away from Lloyd Noble Center has caught the attention of various evaluation formulas and rankings. The Sooners’ schedule is ranked the second-toughest in the NCAA NET Ranking (replaces the RPI). Oklahoma’s seven “Quadrant 1” and “Quadrant 2” wins are the most in the country.
• Oklahoma averages 35.8 paint points per game and is averaging 41.0 paint points over its last four games. The Sooners have outscored their opponents in the paint in 11 of 13 games.
• The Sooners are 10-0 when outrebounding their opponents. In their 11 wins, Oklahoma is winning the rebounding margin by an average of 6.7 boards.
• OU opponents are shooting 37.8 percent from the field – the second lowest opponent field goal percentage in the conference and 12th nationally.
• Senior guard Christian James is fourth in the Big 12 scoring race with 17.4 points per game. With 940 career points, James is 60 shy of becoming the 45th Sooner to eclipse 1,000 points in an Oklahoma uniform.
• Sophomore forward Brady Manek ranks fifth in the Big 12 in rebounding with 7.8 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 18-5 when Manek scores in double figures, 11-1 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 eight outings.
• Graduate point guard Aaron Calixte ranks seventh in the conference in assists with 3.3 dimes per game. Calixte is averaging 8.8 points per game and has totaled 1,239 points in his career (1,125 came at Maine).
• The Sooners saw three players average over 13 points in the month of December in Christian James (16.2), Brady Manek (13.4) and Miles Reynolds (13.4).
• Oklahoma is 8-2 in games away from Norman this season (includes “home” victories in OKC and Tulsa). The Sooners have won six games on the road or on neutral sites. No other Big 12 team has more than five wins away from home. (Does not count the Oklahoma City or Tulsa games, which are considered home games for RPI/NET purposes).
IN DEFENSE OF CHANGING STYLES
• For the second straight season, Oklahoma began the year with an 11-1 start. Although they found success in both in the start of both seasons, 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 66.4 points per game and shooting 37.8 percent from the field (ranks second in the Big 12, 12th in the nation).
• Oklahoma’s defense has been especially disruptive late in the game. In OU’s 11 wins, its opponents are shooting a combined 33.5 percent (23.8 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 their first 12 games as their roster features six players averaging at least seven 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 11 of their wins. Oklahoma is averaging 3.5 players in double figures per game (4.0 over the last six games).
• Four different Sooners have led the team in scoring over OU’s last five games.
UP NEXT: TEXAS TECH
• The Sooners face a ranked opponent on the road for the second time in the first three games of conference play when Oklahoma travels to Lubbock to face No. 11 Texas Tech on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The 8 p.m. contest will air on ESPNews.
• Oklahoma owns a 39-24 lead in the all-time series and has won eight of the last 12 meetings. The Raiders boast a narrow lead in the series (16-13) when the game is played in Lubbock. Tech has won its last three home meetings against the Sooners, with OU’s last win in Lubbock coing in 2015. OU has at least one win over Texas Tech in each of the last eight seasons.
• The home team has won each of the past six meetings.
• The Sooners are 9-5 against Tech in the Lon Kruger era. Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard, in his second season in Lubbock, is 2-2 against the Sooners while coaching the Raiders.