Preview: Oklahoma vs. Kansas

No. 15 Kansas (22-5, 11-1) @ No. 2 Oklahoma (25-1, 11-0)
When: Monday, Feb. 23, 2009
Tip-off: 8:05 p.m. CST
Where: Lloyd Noble Center (Norman, Okla.)
Television: ESPN (Ron Franklin, Fran Fraschilla, Holly Rowe)
Radio: KRXO FM 107.7 in OKC (Bob Barry Sr., Mike Houck)
Head Coach: Bill Self (Oklahoma State, 1985)
Career Record: 371-142
Kansas Record: 163-37 (6th season)
vs. Oklahoma: 5-1
Previous Coaching Positions:
2000-03 Illinois - Head Coach
1997-00 Tulsa - Head Coach
1993-97 Oral Roberts - Head Coach
1986-93 Oklahoma State - Assistant Coach
1985-86 Kansas - Assistant Coach
Oklahoma vs. Kansas
Series Record: KU leads 133-64
Last meeting: KU 85-55, Jan. 14, 2008 in Lawrence
Streak: KU with four in a row
Series in Norman: KU leads 45-40
Capel vs. KU: 0-3
Scouting the Matchup
Blake Griffin Predicament - The status of sophomore sensation
Blake Griffin will likely not be decided until close to game time on
Monday evening. He is going to be reexamined on Monday afternoon, but several
things hinge on the superstars ability to play.
If Griffin is unable
to go on Monday evening it will likely be Ryan Wright who steps into
the role of starter for the Sooners. His ability to match up with Cole
Aldrich will be incredibly important to an Oklahoma victory. Aldrich
owns the defensive boards and it will be important for Oklahoma to put a body
on him and not make it easy for him to pull down a double-digit rebound
total. Between Ryan Wright and Juan Pattillo the Sooners are going
to need a big performance in order to defeat the Jayhawks and put themselves
in the drivers seat to the conference championship.
On the other hand,
if Griffin is ready to take on the Jayhawks it will completely tip the scales
in the Sooners favor. Oklahoma will have an intense battle in the paint, but
the quickness of Griffin will cause major problems for Aldrich, especially
off of the dribble.
Kansas O vs. Oklahoma D - The Kansas guards could pose a difficult
matchup for the Sooners. The Sooners weakness all season has been their
inability to stop guard penetration from their opponents. They may be going
up against the best dribble-penetration player they have faced all year on
Monday when KU brings Sherron Collins to the Lloyd Noble Center. He
has a great ability to get into the lane and finish. The KU point guard of
the future, Tyshawn Taylor is not too shabby at finishing, either.
Both are not only great finishers, but they draw contact from defenders and
finish at the free throw line.
The Oklahoma defense will have their
most success by pressuring the KU guards. They have shown that, when under
pressure, they are susceptible to turnovers. The Jayhawks lead the league in
turnovers per game (14.9) and the Sooners will have to do something they are
not particularly good at doing: force turnovers. Expect lots of half court
pressure from the Sooners including more zone than we are used to seeing out
of the OU defense.
Oklahoma O vs. Kansas D - The Sooners offense consists of what the
opponents are giving them. They are efficient at shooting, driving, or
pounding away at their opponents, which is the reason they have only lost two
games this season. The KU guards will certainly be putting the pressure on
the Oklahoma guards on the perimeter. OU needs the Willie Warren who
showed up in Austin to make his appearance against the Jayhawks.
Griffin will have an advantage over Aldrich on the offensive end of the
floor, although he has great length and leads the league in blocked shots.
Juan Pattillo's athleticism should be effective in this game if he
can take care of the ball.