Winner of three straight, Oklahoma (10-3, 1-0) plays its Big 12 home opener when it hosts Oklahoma State (11-3, 1-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT inside Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners are coming off a 67-57 road victory over West Virginia on Saturday, their league-leading sixth win away from home. After a 10-1 start, Oklahoma State has lost two of its last three games (coming off a 63-45 home win over TCU on Wednesday).
ON THE AIR
Saturday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Sirius 138; XM 194) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck calling the action. The game will be televised by ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla announcing.
* Tickets are available for $10 and $30 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online at SoonerSports.com. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at noon on Saturday.
* OU students may purchase a ticket for $10.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
* Oklahoma has won 10 of the last 16 overall meetings with Oklahoma State and holds a 128-94 all-time series advantage. The Sooners have taken eight straight Bedlam matchups in Norman and 11 of the last 12.
* In last year's Feb. 22 Bedlam meeting in Norman (a 77-64 OU win), four Sooners scored in double figures and all four are back this season. Steven Pledger scored a team-high 17 points and was followed by Romero Osby (16), Cameron Clark (14) and Sam Grooms (10). The foursome combined for 24 of OU's 29 field goals (shot .545).
* Oklahoma has already won as many games away from home this year (6-2 record) as it did over the last two seasons combined (6-25 record). The Sooners have nine more games on the regular season schedule that will be played away from Lloyd Noble Center.
* After averaging 11.1 points on .421 field goal and .744 free throw shooting over OU's first seven games, Osby is averaging 15.7 points on .633 field goal and perfect 31-for-31 foul shooting over the last six outings. His 31 consecutive free throw makes are six shy of the school record set by Nate Carter in 2006-07.
* Freshman Buddy Hield has started the last three games (his only starts of the season). In those three games, Hield has amassed 15 assists against just four turnovers. In OU's first 10 outings, Hield totaled six assists and 21 turnovers.
PREVIEWING OKLAHOMA STATE
* Oklahoma State enters Saturday's game with an 11-3 overall record (0-2 true road games) and a 1-1 Big 12 mark. The Cowboys began the year with a 10-1 record but have lost two of their last three (fell 69-68 at home to Gonzaga and 73-67 at Kansas State before posting a 63-45 home win over TCU on Wednesday). Their other road loss came at Virginia Tech, 81-71, on Dec. 1.
* The Cowboys are shooting .447 from the field, .320 from 3-point range and .767 from the free throw line to rank fourth, sixth and first in the Big 12, respectively. They are allowing opponents to shoot .374 from the field (rank third in league) and .310 from behind the 3-point line (sixth). OSU is outrebounding its foes by 3.8 a contest and averages a +2.5 turnover margin (leads Big 12).
* Junior guard Markel Brown is averaging a team-high 14.5 points per game to go along with averages of 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in a team-high 34.3 minutes a game. Freshman guard Marcus Smart has been one of the Big 12's top performers this year, averaging 14.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals. He ranks eighth in the league in scoring, fifth in assists and first in steals. Over the past three games, Smart is averaging 20.7 points on .677 field goal shooting. Sophomore forward Le'Bryan Nash averages 13.7 points and 4.6 rebounds on the year (8.3 points and 4.0 over the last four games), while freshman guard Phil Forte scores 10.6 points per contest with the help of a team-high .388 mark from 3-point range (2.4 treys per game). Senior center Philip Jurick pulls down a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game and has a team-high 17 blocks in 14 outings.
* The Cowboys are under the direction of fifth-year head coach Travis Ford,
who owns a 91-58 record at OSU. The 1994 Kentucky graduate is in his 16th
season overall and owns a 281-204 career mark.
LAST YEAR VS. OSU
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State met twice last year, with each team winning at home. The Cowboys won the first matchup, 72-65, on Jan. 9 in Stillwater behind 21 points and eight rebounds from Le'Bryan Nash and 18 points from Keiton Page. OU's Carl Blair came off the bench to supply career highs of 20 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, and Romero Osby finished with 18 points and 10 boards. The Sooners lost by just seven despite shooting a season-low .324 from the field (OSU shot .386).
In the rematch in Norman, OU posted a 77-64 win, good for its largest Bedlam margin of victory since 2002-03. The Sooners held a 30-12 halftime lead, limiting the Cowboys to just four field goals on 34 possessions. It was OSU's lowest scoring output in a half of a Big 12 game. The Cowboys were 4-for-24 from the field in the first half and 1-for-7 from 3-point range. The second half told a different story, as OSU scored 52 points on .500 field goal and .500 3-point (12-for-24) 3-point shooting. Steven Pledger was 6-for-8 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range for OU en route to a 17-point day, while Osby tallied 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Cameron Clark added 14 points and Sam Grooms had 10 points and a game-high six assists. Page scored 29 points on Lloyd Noble Center opponent records of nine 3-pointers and 17 attempts. OU shot .468 from the field while holding OSU to a .367 mark.
OU-OKLAHOMA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 128-94 series lead over Oklahoma State and is 80-26 against the Cowboys in Norman. OU has won eight of the last 13 overall meetings and 10 of the last 16. OU is 18-17 against the Cowboys since the start of the Big 12 in 1996-97 (13-3 in Norman). The Sooners have won eight straight in the series at home, and 11 of the last 12. OU won 77-64 last year at Lloyd Noble Center.
* As of Thursday, Oklahoma is ranked 19th out of 347 Division I teams in the CBSSports.com RPI (second best in Big 12 behind No. 2 Kansas) with a strength of schedule ranked No. 14. On Tuesday, OU was projected by ESPN.com as a No. 11 NCAA Tournament seed. On Wednesday, SI.com projected the Sooners as a No. 10 seed.
* Oklahoma's five home games are the fewest of any of the 74 other teams in the six "power" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC). Entering the weekend, every team has played at least seven home games, with the exception of Miami (Fla.), Mississippi State and West Virginia (have played six home games each).
* Steven Pledger's 26.2 minutes per game are the fewest of any Big 12 player to lead his team in the category. In fact, every league squad except Texas Tech and West Virginia has at least two players who average at least 26.2 minutes per game (Baylor has five, Kansas has four, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas have three each and Kansas State has two). OU has a league-high nine players who average at least 16.0 minutes per contest.
* The Sooners enter Big 12 play ranked eighth in the league in field goal percentage (.420), seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.310), and third in free throw percentage (.736). They rank fifth in field goal percentage defense (.398), fourth in 3-point percentage defense (.298) and third in turnover margin (+2.3 per game).
* OU has played seven games this year decided by seven points or fewer and has won five of them. Last year the Sooners finished 4-5 under the circumstance.
* The Sooners have shot at least .714 from the free throw line in seven straight games and own a stellar .795 mark during the span.
* Oklahoma has exhibited a balanced offensive attack through 13 games, with seven players averaging between 5.8 and 13.2 points per contest, and nobody averaging more than 26.2 minutes. A Sooner has played at least 30 minutes in a game just 13 times this year.
* OU returned its top six scorers and 88 percent of its scoring from last season, but newcomers rank third, fourth, sixth and eighth in scoring average. The team's four newcomers have accounted for 40 percent of OU's points (351 of 882).
* The Sooners own a 215-142 advantage in points off turnovers on the year (16.5 to 10.9 per game). Oklahoma has done a better job of capitalizing on mistakes, averaging 1.10 points per opponent turnover to foes' 0.86 points per OU miscue.
* The Sooners' bench has been key, supplying 325 of the team's 882 points (37 percent). OU's reserves have been outscored just three times in 13 games (vs. Gonzaga, Northwestern State and Ohio). Two starters from last year (Cameron Clark and Sam Grooms) have come off the bench in each of their games, while another, Andrew Fitzgerald, has come off the bench in 12 of 13 contests.
The Sooners are back home for a Wednesday game against Texas Tech. The contest will start at 7 p.m. CT and will be televised by the Big 12 Network.
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