In a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12, Oklahoma (13-4, 4-1) plays its 10th game away from home this season when it travels to face No. 3/2 Kansas on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT inside Allen Fieldhouse. The Sooners, who have won six of their last seven games, are 6-3 away from home and are coming off a 73-67 win over Texas on Monday in Norman. Kansas, which has won 16 straight games this season and has taken 101 of its last 102 games in Lawrence, won 59-55 at Kansas State on Tuesday.
ON THE AIR
Saturday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
* Kansas is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against the Sooners. The Jayhawks own a 138-64 series lead and have won the last nine meetings. OU has lost 11 straight games in Lawrence (last win was in 1993).
* This season marks the 25th anniversary of the 1988 national championship game between OU and Kansas. After defeating the Jayhawks in two regular season meetings (by eight points each), the Sooners lost 83-79 in the national title game inside Kansas City's Kemper Arena. It was the 50th NCAA Tournament, and the halftime score of the title game was 50-50.
* This marks the seventh time in the 17-year history of the Big 12 Conference that the Sooners have started with at least a 4-1 league record. OU also had strong five-game starts in 1998 (4-1), 1999 (4-1), 2002 (4-1), 2003 (4-1), 2005 (5-0) and 2009 (5-0). The Sooners participated in the NCAA Tournament in each of those six seasons.
* Senior forward Romero Osby has shot 50 percent or better in each of the last 10 games. During the stretch, he is averaging 16.9 points in 26.2 minutes per contest (40-minute point projection is 25.8) on .600 field goal and .869 (53-for-61) free throw shooting. In Big 12 play, Osby ranks second in the league with his 19.2 scoring average and .579 field goal mark. On the season, Osby's 23.2 points per 40 minutes ranks first in the Big 12.
* In Big 12 play, Oklahoma leads the league in scoring offense (71.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.459) and free throw percentage (.780), and ranks second in 3-point field goal percentage (.357). Kansas paces the league with its .362 field goal percentage defense.
* Kansas enters Saturday's game with a 17-1 record and has won its last 16 games. It holds a one-game conference lead over Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas State. The Jayhawks are 11-0 at Allen Fieldhouse and have won 32 consecutive games and 101 of their last 102 there (Texas was last team to win in Lawrence; 74-63 on Jan 22, 2011). Their only loss this season came on Nov. 13 to Michigan State (67-64) in the Champions Classic in Atlanta, Ga.
* In Big 12 play, Kansas leads the league in average scoring margin (+9.6), field goal percentage defense (.362) and steals (8.6 spg), and ranks second in scoring defense (58.6 ppg), average rebounding margin (+4.8) and blocked shots (6.0 bpg).
* Freshman guard Ben McLemore, who practiced last season with KU, ranks second in the Big 12 (all games) with his 16.1 points per game. A starter in all 18 contests, he has scored in double figures in all but two outings (had nine points in each of other two) and paces the conference with his .446 3-point field goal mark. In Big 12 play, he is averaging 17.4 points and leads the league with a .579 mark from long distance (11-for-19).
* After scoring in single digits in each of KU's first three games this year, senior guard Travis Releford has reached double figures in each of the last 15. He is shooting a team-high .623 from the field and owns a .893 free throw mark. He is averaging 12.0 points on the year and ranks second on the squad with his 2.7 assists per game.
* Senior point guard Elijah Johnson averages 9.6 points and a team-high 4.9 assists. He ranks second on the team with his 26 3-point makes and is shooting .347 from behind the arc.
LAST YEAR VS. THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas won both meetings last year, 72-61 in Norman and 84-62 in Lawrence. Both games were close at halftime, with OU leading by one at the break in the first matchup and trailing by three at intermission in the second. Combined in the two games, however, KU outshot the Sooners 66.0 percent to 39.8 after halftime.
OU-KANSAS SERIES HISTORY
Kansas is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against Oklahoma. The Jayhawks own a 138-64 series advantage and are 70-16 vs. OU in Lawrence. The Sooners had won three of five overall meetings in the series and four of seven prior to Kansas' current nine-game victory streak. OU is 4-17 against the Jayhawks since the formation of the Big 12 Conference. The Sooners have lost 11 straight games in Lawrence. Their last win there came as an unranked team in 1993 (80-77 over the No. 6 Jayhawks).
OKLAHOMA TEAM UPDATE
* As of Thursday, Oklahoma is ranked 23rd out of 347 Division I teams in the CBSSports.com RPI (second best in Big 12 behind No. 3 Kansas), with a strength of schedule ranked No. 20. OU is projected by Joe Lunardi and ESPN.com as a No. 8 NCAA Tournament seed in this week's "Bracketology" report.
* Two of the Sooners' four losses have come to teams ranked in this week's AP top-25 (No. 10 Gonzaga and No. 11 Kansas State own a combined 32-5 record). The other two came by a combined four points. OU lost by three at Arkansas (led by one with 15 seconds remaining) and by one to Stephen F. Austin (the Lumberjacks are 16-1 on the year and lead the nation in scoring defense).
* OU has already won as many games away from home this year (6-3 record) as it did over the last two seasons combined (6-25 record). The Sooners will play at least eight more games away from Lloyd Noble Center this year (including Saturday at Kansas).
* In Big 12 play, Oklahoma leads the league in scoring offense (71.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.459) and free throw percentage (.780), and ranks second in 3-point field goal percentage (.357) and offensive rebounding percentage (.373).
* The Sooners have shot at least .727 from the free throw line in eight of the last nine games and are shooting a combined .805 in those nine outings. They have outscored their last nine opponents by a total of 54 points at the line. In conference games, OU is shooting a league-high .780 from the charity stripe.
* In its three Big 12 home games, OU is giving up an average of 5.7 3-pointers per game (six by Oklahoma State, five by Texas Tech and five by Texas). In its two league road games, it is surrendering an average of 10.5 makes (11 at West Virginia and 10 at Kansas State).
* The Sooners are getting outscored by 10.8 points per game from 3-point range in Big 12 play. Forty-one percent of opponents' field goal attempts have come from 3-point range while only 20 percent of OU's attempts have come from behind the arc. The Sooners have made 110 two-point field goals in conference play while opponents have made 76.
OU PLAYER UPDATE
* Senior forward Romero Osby leads OU in scoring (14.5 ppg), rebounding (6.5 rpg) and field goal percentage (.533) in just 25.1 minutes a contest. Projected to 40 minutes, he is averaging a Big 12-best 23.2 points to go along with 10.4 rebounds. Osby is averaging 16.9 points on .600 field goal shooting over the last 10 contests (has shot at least .500 from the field in all 10). In Big 12 games, Osby ranks second in the league in scoring (19.2 ppg) and field goal percentage (.579), and 10th in rebounding (6.8 rpg). He has led the team in scoring in all five conference outings, including Monday's career-high 29 point effort against Texas.
* Senior guard Steven Pledger averages 11.0 points in a team-high 25.9 minutes a game (lowest minutes average by a Big 12 player who leads his team). He ranks fifth in the conference with his 2.1 treys per contest and seventh with his .361 3-point percentage. Pledger scored in double figures in nine straight outings before being held to five points against Texas on Monday. He ranks fourth in school history with 213 makes (needs two to tie Tim Heskett for third place).
* Preseason Big 12 Rookie of the Year Amath M'Baye is a two-time league rookie of the week (Nov. 26 and Dec. 31). Over the last seven games (six wins), he is averaging 12.3 points (on .565 field goal shooting) and 5.0 rebounds. The junior forward is coming off a 15-point performance against Texas.
* Freshman guard Buddy Hield, who ranks fourth on the team with his 9.4 points, third with his 4.8 rebounds and second with his 2.1 assists, has started the last seven games after coming off the bench the first 10. In the seven starts, he is averaging 10.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
* Freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak has contributed across the board in OU's first 17 games, averaging 5.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 22.8 minutes per game. He has started all 17 contests (played point guard the last nine games). Hornbeak leads the team with his .385 3-point field goal percentage and is 9-for-his last 15 from long range (.600).
* A starter every game the previous two years, senior forward Andrew Fitzgerald has come off the bench in 16 of 17 games this season. On the year, he averages 5.6 points (.436 field goal shooting) and 2.5 rebounds in 15.6 minutes an outing. Fitzgerald needs just two points to become the 39th member of OU's 1,000-point club.
* Senior point guard Sam Grooms started all 31 games last year, led the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8) and ranked second in assists (6.0 per game). He has come off the bench in each of his 16 games this season and has racked up a team-high 45 assists against 17 turnovers (2.6 ratio). In Big 12 games, he leads the league with his 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio (18 and five).
The Sooners play a second consecutive road game when they travel to face Baylor on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised by ESPNU.
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