Sooners set sights on Wildcats in Big 12 affair

The Oklahoma Sooners will play their second ranked Kansas State Wildcats.

Lon Kruger's Sooners are in the midst of a three-game gauntlet against ranked foes. The team opened up the set with a 77-65 loss to Baylor this week and will follow this game with a matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence on February 1st. The loss to the Bears, the team's second straight, dropped OU to a mere 2-5 in league play. Oklahoma is still in search of its first true road win of the season at 0-4.

Frank Martin's Wildcats are still within striking distance in the Big 12, as the team has rebounded from a 1-3 start to league play by winning its last three games, including a 69-47 rout of Texas Tech this week.

Oklahoma holds a 103-91 advantage in this longstanding series. Kansas State has won four of the last six meetings, but it is the Sooners seeking the regular-season sweep after posting an 82-73 victory over KSU in Norman back on January 14th.

The Sooners failed to match Baylor's offensive firepower but there are a lot of teams that have befallen the same fate. Oklahoma remains a team that can compete at that end of the floor, shooting .441 overall and putting up 72.9 ppg. Steven Pledger's perimeter game is what fuels OU's attack. Pledger, who is converting 42.7 percent from behind the arc (47-of-110), is averaging 17.2 ppg (fourth in the conference). Andrew Fitzgerald (13.3 ppg) and Romero Osby (12.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg) headline the play up front. Sam Grooms (6.5 ppg) is serviceable at the point, ranking fourth in the conference in assists (5.5 apg) and first in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8). The Sooners shot a solid 46.6 percent from the floor against Baylor this week, but the Bears were simply better at a 54-percent clip, including 9-of-18 from behind the arc. Pledger had a nice all-around game with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. Osby posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards, while Fitzgerald chipped in with 13 points.

The Wildcats beat up on the Red Raiders in just about every facet of the game, leading to a blowout win this week in Lubbock. Despite a poor 1-of-9 showing from three-point range, KSU still managed to down 48.1 percent of its shots overall. Kansas State also outrebounded Texas Tech 35-25 and forced the Red Raiders into a whopping 25 turnovers, while recording 12 steals. Martavious Irving led the offensive charge with 16 points. Rodney McGruder joined Irving in double figures with 13 points. KSU is at its best when it can play stingy defense and work off of that. The Wildcats come into this contest holding foes to just 63.6 ppg on .392 shooting, including .282 from three-point range. McGruder leads the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and steals (24). Jamar Samuels and Will Spradling round out the double-digit scorers for KSU at 10.5 and 10.4 ppg, respectively.