Tuesday, Feb. 23 / 8 p.m. CT / Bramlage Coliseum / Manhattan, Kan.
NORMAN – Winners of eight of its last nine games, No. 7/8 Oklahoma (14-5, 9-4) is on the hunt for another road win when it heads to the Little Apple to take on Kansas State (6-18, 2-13) Tuesday night. The Sooners haven’t won at Bramlage Coliseum since 2012, but did defeat the Wildcats by 26 in their first meeting of the season.
Oklahoma will look for another big road performance from Austin Reaves (16.8 points) to take down a K-State squad that’s coming off a road win over TCU. A victory would give OU its first three-game road winning streak in conference play since 2009 when Blake Griffin led the Sooners to five straight conference road wins.
ON THE AIR
• The Big 12 matchup tips at 8 p.m. CT and will air on the Sooner Sports Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing.
• Mark Neely and Robbie Hummel have the call on ESPN2.
• Senior guard Austin Reaves continues to heat up as the season progresses, averaging 21.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists during the month of February whike shooting 48% from the field and 91% from the foul line. Oklahoma has won nine of its last 10 games with its one loss (at Texas Tech) coming without Reaves in the lineup due to COVID-19 contact tracing. Overall this season, Reaves is averaging 16.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He is one of only two major-conference players (Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois) averaging at least 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
• Reaves has had some of his most dominant performances this season when playing in true road games. In his seven away games this, Reaves is averaging 22.1 points – the most in the Big 12 for road contests. His six highest-scoring games of the season have all come away from Norman, including 32 points at TCU (the most by any Big 12 player this season) and 28 points in double overtime at West Virginia. Remy Martin (Arizona State, 24.3 points) and Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois, 22.6 points) are the only major-conference players averaging more points on the road than Reaves.
• The Sooners look to continue a dominant stretch when they head into the Octagon of Doom. In Oklahoma’s last nine games, the Sooners have totaled eight wins, four victories over top-15 teams and three road wins. OU’s last loss when at full strength came on Jan. 6 on the road against No. 2 Baylor.
SERIES HISTORY: KANSAS STATE
• OU leads the overall series against Kansas State 110-102 and won the first meeting of the seaon 76-50.
• Oklahoma is in search of its first win at Bramlage Coliseum since 2012.
• OU head coach Lon Kruger played for Kansas State from 1970-74 and was named the Big Eight Player of the Year in 1973 and 1974. He also starred on the baseball diamond for Kansas State and was selected in both the NBA and MLB Drafts in 1974. He later coached the Wildcats from 1986-90, racking up an 81-46 (.638) record. Each of his K-State squads qualified for the NCAA Tournament, and the 1988 team was one of the best in the school’s history with 24 wins and a trip to the Elite Eight. Kruger’s No. 12 hangs in the rafters of Bramlage Coliseum.
LOOKING BACK AT OU’S WIN OVER IOWA STATE
• Oklahoma completed the season sweep of Iowa State by picking up a double-digit road win over the Cyclones on Saturday. The victory was OU’s first at Hilton Coliseum since 2011.
• Senior guard Austin Reaves led the Sooners with 20 points and five rebounds – his fifth 20-point game of the season.
• Junior guard Elijah Harkless led Oklahoma in rebounds (nine), assists (three) and steals (two) to go with seven points.
• Oklahoma had to build double-digit leads twice to beat the Cyclones. The Sooners led by as many as 21 points before Iowa State stormed all the way back to take a one-point lead midway through the second half. Oklahoma immediately responded with a 16-4 run to retake an 11-point lead.
• The Cyclones sunk 16 3-pointers in the first meeting of the season, but Oklahoma held ISU to 4-of-19 shooting (21.1%) in the rematch.
• Oklahoma won the rebounding battle 41-36 and blocked five Cyclone shots.
• The Sooners are in the middle of playing three straight road games, their first such stretch in league play since 1996.
• Oklahoma enters the matchup 4-3 in Big 12 road games this season. The Sooners – who went a combined 7-29 in conference road games the previous four seasons – can finish above .500 in Big 12 away contests for the first time since 2014 with a win in Manhattan. Dating back to last season, Oklahoma has won six of its last nine Big 12 road games.
• Oklahoma has five wins over top-15 teams this season, tied with Ohio State for the most in the country.
• Oklahoma has won eight of its last nine games. The only loss in that stretch came on the road to Texas Tech without leading scorer Austin Reaves and starting guard Alondes Williams, who were both absent due to COVID protocols.
• OU is 7-2 in Big 12 games this season when all its rotation players are available to play. The Sooners last lost at full strength on Jan. 6 to No. 2 Baylor in Waco.
• The second-place Sooners were picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll and did not make an appearance in the AP Top-25 until Jan. 25.
• The Sooners are in the top-12 of the AP-Top 25 for the fourth straight week, checking in at their season-best No. 7 position. Oklahoma jumped into the top-10 for the first time this season on Feb. 1 after being ranked No. 24 the previous week. The 15-spot increase is tied for the largest single-week jump by an already ranked team since the poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989 (Arizona jumped from 19 to 4 in 1995-96).
• Oklahoma’s No. 7 ranking is its highest position in the AP Top-25 since being ranked No. 4 in January 2018.
• On Feb. 13, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee announced its top 16 teams in a mock bracket selection, pegging Oklahoma as a No. 3 seed. Should the Sooners continue to hold ground in the committee’s mind, Oklahoma could become just the eighth team in the last 25 years to earn a top-4 seed after being unranked in the AP Top-25 until at least Jan. 25. The highest seed obtained in the last 25 years by a team that was unranked through at least Jan. 25 was a No. 2 spot by South Carolina (1997) and Iowa State (2000).
• One of the main factors to OU’s historic rise in the polls is from a stretch in late January where the Sooners beat three top-10 teams in eight days. By defeating No. 9 Kansas, No. 5 Texas and No. 9 Alabama, Oklahoma became just the third team in NCAA history to beat top-10 teams in back-to-back games, joining Michigan (2014) and Iowa (1987).
• In the month of January, Oklahoma became the first college basketball team since 1974 to beat four top-10 teams in one calendar month.
• The Sooners are 9-0 when scoring at least 78 points. OU is averaging 80.4 points per game in victories and 63.2 in losses.
• Sometimes the key to victory is as simple as making shots. Over the last two seasons, the Sooners are 27-1 when they have a better field goal percentage than their opponents. Their only loss when owning a better field goal percentage was on the road at then-No. 1 Baylor last season.
• Oklahoma is committing only 10.6 turnovers per game – the fewest in the Big 12 and 14th best in Division I.
• The Sooners also lead the league in fewest fouls committed per game, fouling an average of 14.5 times – the 11th-fewest in the country. This continues a trend that Oklahoma showed a lot of discipline in last season, commiting only 14.4 personal fouls per game in 2019-20 – the third fewest in the country. This year, OU opponents are shooting an average of 13.2 foul shots per game, compared to OU’s 18.2 free throw attempts.OU is making the most of its trips to the line, ranking second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage with a 74.8% rate.
UP NEXT: BEDLAM
• The Sooners will face Oklahoma State twice in three days in the Phillips 66 Bedlam Series. It’s the first time the two rivals have faced off in back-to-back games since closing the 2009 regular-season in Norman before facing each other in the first round of the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners and Cowboys last played each other in consecutive regular-season games in 1946.
• Oklahoma will host the Cowboys on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT on ABC before heading to Stillwater for ESPN’s Big Monday.
• Oklahoma owns a 140-100 all-time advantage in the series and is 22-12 in Bedlam games since 2006. The Sooners are 12-7 against the Cowboys games under Lon Kruger. OU has won three of the last four meetings.