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Oklahoma Preview

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 08 Oklahoma at Texas Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kansas and Oklahoma both attempt to rebound from tough losses tonight, but the real story for Kansas is the health of Devon Dotson. It sounds as though he will play tonight, but with games against a couple of the weaker Big 12 teams and then a nonconference game coming up, it might make more sense to sit him down for a week or two to make sure he’s healthy for March.

Anyway, onto Oklahoma. The Sooners sit at 72 in the Torvik rankings and 48th in KenPom. Other than a neutral site win over Minnesota, they haven’t exactly lit the world on fire results wise. They don’t shoot a ton of threes (197th nationally) or shoot them well (32 percent), but they do a great job of taking care of the ball (15 percent turnover rate, 6th nationally) so even though they don’t attack the glass and don’t shoot a high percentage, they should be able to get a decent amount of shot volume due to being able to take care of the ball so well.

Defensively, Oklahoma has quite a bit of size, with the ability to go 6-7 or taller basically everywhere except point guard, although they lack a singular post presence like Kansas. They also (thankfully) don’t force a lot of turnovers, ranking 299th nationally at 17 percent of opponents’ possessions. Unfortunately, because of that as well as Oklahoma’s personnel, this might be a game where going 2 big men makes sense, which I am sure causes Kansas fans everywhere to vomit.

Players to Watch

Brady Manek, 6-6 junior wing

Manek is shooting 41 percent on 83 3-point attempts already this season, and is probably the toughest perimeter big man matchup for Kansas so far this season. Kansas might not be able to use Marcus Garrett on him, so whomever is matched up on him (Tristan Enaruna?) will have to stick to him as best as possible.

Kristian Doolittle, 6-7 senior wing

Here’s why Garrett probably can’t be guarding Manek. Doolittle leads the team in usage, and is shooting 46 percent on twos and 50 percent from three. He’s ironically been a bit of a poor shooter close to the rim, whether by luck or not, so maybe the best bet is to funnel him right to Udoka Azubuike for cleanup.

Austin Reaves, 6-5 junior guard

The Wichita State transfer is building a decent Big 12 newcomer of the year candidacy, shooting 53 percent on twos and showing himself to be a pretty good passer as well. He’s also one of Oklahoma’s better perimeter defenders.

The Pick

Like a moron I picked a push in the Baylor game, so I am going to throw that result out. Kansas is favored by 6.5 in this one, which I think seems to suggest Dotson may not play a lot or be hobbled. If he does play and isn’t feeling the ill effects too badly, I don’t see Oklahoma putting up much resistance. Kansas 75, Oklahoma 67.