The #2 Oklahoma Sooners travel to Austin to take on the un-ranked
Texas Longhorns in this Big 12 match-up
These teams met earlier this year up in Norman, with Oklahoma
dominating in a 78-63 win that saw them shoot over 50% from the
field. The Longhorns were held to just 33.8% on their FG tries, and
only connected on 5 of their 23 3-point tries. Oklahoma had 4
players with 15+ pts in that game, with Big 12 scoring leader F
Blake Griffin leading the way with 20 pts and 10 rebounds.
The Sooners come into this game at 25-1 overall and ranked #2 in the
country, and leading the Big 12 with an unblemished 11-0 mark. Since
their lone loss of the season at Arkansas back at the end of
December, they have reeled off 13 wins in a row, including 11 in a
row vs the conference. Every conference win has been by at least 5
pts, with 6 coming by double-digits.
Blake Griffin, a 6’10” 250 lb sophomore, is not only leading the
Sooners in scoring and rebounding….he is leading the Big 12 in both
categories, with an average of 22.8 ppg and 14.2 rpg, and is
connecting on 64% of his FG attempts. The bruising F is having a
stellar season and has earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors 5
times already. The Sooners have 2 other players averaging in
double-digits, with Freshman PG Willie Warren fulfilling
expectations with his 14.9 ppg average, and Junior G Tony Crocker
chipping in with 10 ppg, and leading the team in 3-pointers and 3-pt
As a team, Oklahoma is averaging 80.5 ppg, and connecting on nearly
50% of their FG tries, which is the 7th best FG % in the nation.
That team scoring average has pretty much held up in conference play
also ,where they are averaging 79 ppg, but in road conference games
that average has slipped a bit to 75 ppg.
On defense, the Sooners are giving up 66.3 ppg and allowing opposing
offenses to connect on just 39% of their FG attempts, however that
average increases slightly to 67.7 ppg in league action. Oklahoma
will be trying not to look ahead to 2nd place Kansas, who they will
be hosting in just 2 days.
The Texas Longhorns have fallen on hard times lately. Just 3 weeks
ago they were the #11 ranked team in the nation, but starting with a
heartbreaking home loss to Kansas State in OT, they have now lost 4
out of their last 6 games to fall out of the national rankings. That
loss to Kansas State started a slide that saw them lose 3 straight
games by 4 pts or less. They did regroup with a huge 25 pt blowout
of Oklahoma St in a 99-74 home win. But they followed that game up
having to go to OT to beat lowly Colorado (1-10, Big 12), and then
proceeded to lose their last game by 15 at Texas A&M, a team that
had managed just a 3-7 conference record up till then, and had lost
3 games in a row and 6 out of their last 8.
The Longhorns are 10-2 in home games this year, but have dropped 2
of their last 3 in Austin. On the year, they are averaging 73 ppg,
on 44% shooting from the field and just 32% from 3-point range.
As expected, Senior G A.J. Abrams has been the leading scorer with a
16.8 ppg average, hitting on 39.5 % of his FG’s. But he is also the
Big 12’s leading 3-point threat, knocking down 75 of 191 (39.3%)
from long range already, for an average of 3 per game. Junior Damion
Johnson has improved on his 13 ppg from last year, with an average
of 15.6 ppg this year, and is also the team’s leading rebounder by
far, with an average of 9 per game. And Sophomore F Gary Johnson has
broken in as a starter this year, chipping in with 11.4 ppg and
nearly 6 rpg.
On defense, the Longhorns have held opponents to just 64.5 ppg on
40.5% shooting, but have given up just over 68 ppg in league play.
Abrams had a terrible game last time out against A&M, hitting just 3
of 12 FG’s and just 1 of 7 from 3-pt. range, for a total of just 7
pts. The last time these teams met, Abrams finished with 22 pts, but
was held to just 3 of 15 from 3-pts range. If Oklahoma can limit his
effectiveness again from long range, they should have an excellent
chance to pull off the road win here. The Longhorns have had a tough
stretch, losing 4 of their last 6. And Oklahoma has only lost once
all year. Oklahoma has gone 10-0 against teams in the Sagarin
ratings top 50 this year, whereas the Longhorns have gone 5-5
against top 50 competition. Even with the Sooners winning easily in
the last match-up, and with Kansas coming up in 2 days, I can’t see
them looking past this game. Prior to their win against Texas
earlier, the Sooners had lost 6 of the last 7 in this series. That
should provide enough motivation for this game.
With this game looking like a possible pick-em, and with the teams
seemingly heading in opposite directions, I will look for Oklahoma
to make it 2 in a row against the Longhorns and win this game
straight-up. I will take the Sooners up to –2 here.
If you're tired of trying to figure out these whacky college
hoops games, let our experts do it for you. We have several college
basketball handicappers making nice profits on a daily basis at
Bettorsworld's Free Sprorts Monitor.