The Kansas Jayhawks return home after their two game road trip in hopes that their recently dwindling offense will be recharged by the home crowd. Oklahoma enters the game with a 4-1 Big 12 record and looks to get a statement win in the state of Kansas after already losing in the Sunflower State once this year. The Sooners are led by seniors F Romero Osby and G Steven Pledger in their version of the Jayhawks inside-outside combo of McLemore and Withey. Osby and Pledger have proven to be a very successful formula for Oklahoma this year. Besides playing for a stronger lead in the Big 12, the Jayhawks are also playing for a potential No.1 overall rankings in the Coaches Poll next week following Miami's upset win over Duke.
When: Saturday, January 26, 4:00 PM ET
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
No Injuries to Report
Much like the K-State Wildcats, the Sooners have a lot of depth to their roster. F Romero Osby (14.5 PPG-6.5 RPG), G Steven Pledger (11 PPG-1.3 APG) and F Amath M'Baye (10.2 PPG-5.6 RPG) are the highest scorers on the Sooners' roster. No player on the OU roster plays more than 26 minutes per game and are 9 players that play between 15 and 25 minutes per game. G-F Cameron Clark (6 PPG-3.1 RPG) is the most dangerous player of the bench for the Sooners.
Weakness: Outside Shooting
The Sooners associate only 20.7% of their offense outside the arc and hit only 32% from three, so we will likely be seeing the Sooners take most of their shots inside, where they hit at a 47% clip.
No Injuries to Report
The proclaimed "best freshmen to play for KU since Paul Pierce" G Ben McLemore (16.1 PPG-5.4 RPG) has been keeping the three point production alive by hitting 45% from beyond the arc. G Elijah Johnson (9.6 PPG-4.9 APG) is 4th in the Big 12 in assists while G Travis Releford (12.9 PPG-3.3 RPG) has been a consistent scorer this year. G Naadir Tharpe (5.2 PPG-2.4 APG) has been a great addition to the backcourt and will likely be starting next year.
The Jayhawks just haven't been the same since the ISU game. Since then the Jayhawks have managed to average only 61 PPG and are averaging a 42% FG%. Kansas is taking about as many shots as they have been, but haven't been converting as much including inside on easy layup opportunities. C Jeff Withey (13 PPG-4.3 BPG) has been harder to get to in the paint recently while F Kevin Young (7.4 PPG-6.8 RPG) has been exposed offensively and that has hurt the Jayhawks.
Trending Up: Jumpers
The Jayhawks have been a little "creative" lately with their shot selections. In Big 12 play, KU have diversified their offense by taking 42% of their shots outside (hitting 37%) and diverting 16% of their offense in 2 point jumpers outside the paint (hitting 47%).
Trending Down: G Elijah Johnson
G Elijah Johnson (9.6 PPG-4.9 APG) hasn't been so much "trending down" as much as he has become more inconsistent. Johnson had a great game against ISU, scoring 12 points and 10 assists, then he comes out flat at Tech scoring only 5 points and then scoring again in double digits (12) against Baylor. If this pattern tells us anything it is that Johnson is due for another low scoring game. Johnson has averaged only 8.6 PPG and 4.2 APG in Big 12 play and hasn't been an X-factor in the KU offense as of late.
I believe that KU should try to absolutely destroy Oklahoma offensively so that they may rejuvenate the offense, similar to when KU blew out Colorado and recharged the offense at that time. This game shouldn't involve the "scrubs" anyway as Oklahoma poses a threat to KU's Big 12 title chase. If KU can score more than 70 points then I think we can all agree it would be a refreshing change of pace, besides KU needs to be focusing more on scoring than on dancing anyway.