Oklahoma basketball: Bedlam II will unfold in Stillwater on Saturday

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 12: Khadeem Lattin
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 12: Khadeem Lattin /

When the curtain goes up in Bedlam II at Oklahoma State on Saturday, it is the hope of Oklahoma basketball fans everywhere that they won’t witness a gut-wrenching repeat of what took place earlier in the week at Kansas State.

Oklahoma’s main man, Trae Young, vows the breakdowns that plagued the Sooners at K-State won’t happen again anytime soon. Those words are encouraging, but also a blinding flash of the obvious if OU wants to continue to win games and remain in contention for a potential Big 12 title.

The Sooners will have little margin for error in their next two outings: a rivalry matchup on the road with Oklahoma State on Saturday, followed by a showdown at Lloyd Noble Center on Tuesday with Big 12 leader and 13-time defending champion Kansas.

The Sooners won the first encounter with Oklahoma State by 20 points earlier this month, but that means little in a fiercely contested rivalry series as old as this one. Oklahoma leads the overall series, but the two teams have split the last 10 games played in Stillwater.

Kansas State held the high-scoring Oklahoma offense to a season-low 69 points earlier this week, but the Sooners continue to lead the country as well as the Big 12, averaging 92.2 points a game.

The fourth-ranked Sooners (14-3, 4-2) pretty much go as Young, their freshman superstar, goes, and he’s been going gangbusters all season. The 6-foot, 2-inch McDonald’s All-American was held to 20 points in the loss to Kansas State, his second lowest scoring outing of the season and almost 10 points below his season average. Young has scored at least 20 points in all but one of OU’s 17 games this season and twice has put up 43 points in a game.

Christian James and freshman teammate and starter Brady Manek are also averaging in double figures (12.1 and 11.3 points per game, respectively).

In Bedlam Part I in Norman on Jan. 3, Manek and Young combined for 55 points in a 109-89 Sooner win.

Redshirt senior Jeffrey Carroll leads the Cowboys in scoring, averaging 15.7 per game. He scored 15 points in the last game with the Sooners. Tavarius Shine, averaging 11.2 ppg, was the high scorer for OSU in the first Bedlam game with 16 points before fouling out.

Oklahoma State is in the middle to bottom half of the conference in most offensive and defensive categories this season, but the one area where the Cowboys stand out is at the free-throw line, where they are shooting a collective 78 percent. That tells you that Oklahoma cannot afford to be trailing OSU in the closing seconds of the game.

The Cowboys (12-6, 2-4) are 1-2 in Big 12 games at home this season and 10-2 overall at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Sooners have not lost at home this season, but are 2-2 in true road games and 1-2 in Big 12 away games.

The next Big 12 win by the Sooners will equal their Big 12 win total of a year ago.

Game prediction: This will not be an easy game for Oklahoma, but no game is in the Big 12, especially this season. I believe the Sooners will come out with a chip on their shoulder after the way they played earlier this week at Kansas State. But they are going to have to play much better defensively, shoot the ball better and get better ball movement if they want to avoid suffering a second consecutive loss.

Oklahoma 87, Oklahoma State 76