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Chris Beard says Sooners can compete for Big 12 title

“I think Oklahoma’s gonna be a part of the fight for the conference championship,” Beard said.

His reasoning? OU’s defense. And Beard knows something about defense. Texas Tech’s pack line approach has the Red Raiders ranked No. 1 in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. The Sooners rank No. 7 in the same category.

“They’re a patient defense,” Beard said. “A lot of people associate the word patience with offensive basketball, but a good defense can be patient too.”

McNeace remains limited

Oklahoma center Jamuni McNeace played just eight minutes Tuesday night. McNeace made his only field goal attempt. He blocked one shot and committed three fouls.

“He’s getting better,” Kruger said after the game. “He’s close, but doesn’t look to be as comfortable as he was a month ago.”

A right ankle sprain has sidelined McNeace for much of the last month. The former starter has averaged 10 minutes of playing time in his last six games.

“It’s not me coming back early,” McNeace said earlier this week. “It was all based off how I was feeling. If I felt good that day I would try something.”

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