No. 5 Kansas at Oklahoma
• WHEN/WHERE: 3 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.
• TV/RADIO: ESPN; KCSP (610 AM)
• ABOUT KANSAS (19-3, 7-2 Big 12): After suffering two straight losses for the first time since January 2006, Kansas travels to Oklahoma attempting to avoid its first three-game skid since February 2005. Coincidentally, that streak became three games in a 71-63 loss at Oklahoma. … A victory would ensure that KU is still at least tied for first in the Big 12 when Kansas State arrives for a Big Monday showdown at Allen Fieldhouse. … Freshman guard Ben McLemore finished with 18 points in last month’s victory against Oklahoma at Allen Fieldhouse. But the Jayhawks may need his shot-making ability to be in full gear to pull off a road victory in Norman. … Senior guard Elijah Johnson is shooting 25 percent (15 for 59) in his last six games, while sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe is 10 for 42 during the same stretch.
• ABOUT OKLAHOMA (14-7, 5-4 Big 12): There is plenty on the line for Oklahoma, which has lost two straight and three of its last four. The Sooners are coming off an 83-64 loss at Iowa State on Monday, and a victory at home against Kansas could certainly help their NCAA tourney hopes come March. … This latest matchup comes two weeks after KU held Oklahoma leading scorer Romero Osby to just four-of-16 shooting in the Jayhawks’ 67-54 victory. Osby said that KU center Jeff Withey’s shot-blocking ability got in his head, and he’ll likely want to make up for that performance in the rematch. … The Sooners are 7-2 at home this season, with the last loss coming last Saturday against K-State. Oklahoma has lost four straight to KU at the Lloyd Noble Center.
• BOTTOM LINE: It’s gut-check time for the Jayhawks, who desperately need a victory. KU will certainly play better than it did at TCU, but the Jayhawks will need a complete performance to leave Norman with a victory.
| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com