Texas at Oklahoma
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 23, 2019
Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma
If Oklahoma hopes to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, Saturday’s home contest against Texas may be a critical turning point in its quest. The Sooners snapped their five-game losing streak with a 71-62 road triumph against TCU last Saturday, and they’ll return to Norman looking to claim their first conference victory since defeating the Horned Frogs on Jan. 12.
“(The win) feels really good. We haven’t had one in a while,” Oklahoma’s Christian James told reporters after scoring 14 points last Saturday. “The goal is just to get better every day as a team and just come together long-term and try to get hot.” No Sooners player is hotter right now than forward Kristian Doolittle, who led the squad with 21 points and 10 rebounds during Saturday’s win and totaled 45 points on 17-of-23 shooting in Oklahoma’s two victories over TCU this season. The Sooners will benefit Saturday from the absence of Longhorns leading scorer Kerwin Roach II (15 points per game) after it was announced on Friday that the senior has been suspended indefinitely following an unspecified violation of team rules. The ban comes as Texas is looking to build momentum from a 68-57 victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday, when Roach scored a team-high 16 points for his 12th straight double-digit performance.TV:
Noon ET, ESPNUABOUT TEXAS (15-11, 7-6 Big 12):
The Longhorns continue to rely on long shots as they have attempted the most 3-pointers in the conference (654) but are second-to-last in 3-point accuracy (33 percent). “We do have some guys who can knock down the outside shot,” coach Shaka Smart told reporters after a 7-for-21 performance from beyond the arc against the Cowboys last Saturday. “But as we’ve talked about, that hasn’t always been our most efficient part of the game.” Texas thrives from everywhere else on the court as it ranks first in the Big 12 during conference-play in both 2-point field-goal percentage (53.2) and free-throw percentage (75.3). ABOUT OKLAHOMA (16-10, 4-9):
In his 13 league games, Doolittle is averaging a team-leading 12.8 points - up from the 6.9 the junior averaged in 13 non-conference contests. James still leads the team in scoring overall (15.3 points per game) but has seen his efficiency dip as he’s shooting 47 percent from the floor outside the conference and 35.3 percent within it. It’s a good sign for the Sooners that Jamuni McNeace and his team-leading 23 blocks returned Saturday after he missed two games with an ankle injury, although the center was limited to just two points and no blocks in seven minutes off the bench.TIP-INS
1. The Longhorns’ seven Big 12 wins have been by an average of 12.3 points while their six losses have been by 4.5.
2. Then-No.20 Oklahoma lost its third straight game in the series when Texas claimed a 75-72 victory on Jan. 19.
3. Texas was 16-for-18 from the free-throw line against Oklahoma State (88.9 percent) after it went a combined 48-for-73 in its previous three games (65.8 percent).PREDICTION:
Oklahoma 68, Texas 60
Stats and Records