The Best Player In The Big 12 You're Not Aware Of (And The Rest Of The Oklahoma Sooners)

Since Bill Self took over at Kansas, the Jayhawks are 17-4 after losing a Big 12 game. Add in their relative dominance at Allen Fieldhouse and I don't think there is much danger in an upset on Wednesday (/knocks on wood)

But beyond seeing the Jayhawks get back to their winning ways, there is another reason to watch: Oklahoma Junior Steven Pledger has been pretty otherworldly this year, with a 124.6 offensive rating, and shooting marks of 53.3%/43.6%/90.6% (2/3/FT). Pledger ranks 5th in the conference in offensive rating, 5th in eFG, 3rd in three point percentage, and 2nd in points per game if you're into that sort of thing.

OK so maybe he's just a good shooter. He is a poor rebounder on both sides, and his turnover rate is about 3% higher than his assist rate. Still, if the ball stays out of his hands, Kansas wins.

This game really is a matchup of opposites: Oklahoma has the 7th ranked offense in the Big 12, Kansas has the best defense. Kansas has the 3rd best offense, Oklahoma is last in defense.

One matchup (of sorts) that did jump out at me though is that Oklahoma is the best team in the conference at avoiding getting their shots blocked, and Kansas, behind Jeff Withey (and Thomas Robinson, who is having a nice year in that area) is the best shot blocking team in the league.

In the last matchup Oklahoma got a third of their points from the free throw line. With this game coming in Lawrence they obviously won't have as many opportunities to do that, especially given that they are 9th in the Big 12 in FT rate.

Oklahoma is shooting 36.8% from three on the year, but in Big 12 play that percentage has plummeted to just 28.3%, 9th in the Big 12. So of course that means they're due to shoot about 50%. They take the fewest threes in the league though, and Pledger has taken roughly as many as the rest of the team combined, so even if they do shoot 50% from three it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Statistically there's no reason Kansas should lose this game. If all goes wrong I suppose it's possible, but KenPom gives them a 93% chance to win for a reason.

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