Oklahoma basketball: Sooners-Cowboys go at it in Bedlam III in Big 12 Tournament

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 19: Kristian Doolittle
LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 19: Kristian Doolittle /
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NORMAN, OK – FEBRUARY 17: Trae Young
NORMAN, OK – FEBRUARY 17: Trae Young /

The case for Oklahoma to win the game

The Sooners have everything they need to win this game, except for perhaps the confidence to get the job done. And that will be a key if OU is to get by its in-state rival and eliminate all doubt about whether it will be among the 68 teams that hears its name called on Selection Sunday.

Pure and simple, the Sooners need to play better defense and, above all, they need to make shots, two areas in which they have struggled mightily as a team, especially over the second half of the season.

Freshman sensation Trae Young can beat you in multiple ways. Opponents have taken away some of his scoring proficiency during the past six to eight weeks, but he can also carve you up with his exceptional passing skills. And when he is on his game in both areas, Oklahoma generally wins.

When Young’s rainbow three-balls aren’t going down, he is as good as any player in the land at driving to the basket and either scoring or drawing a foul, or both. He is the last person on the Oklahoma team you want to send to the foul line.

Young is nursing a bruised hip, which he suffered in the Sooners loss at Baylor the first part of last week. He says he’s fine and will be able to play on Wednesday, but his mobility, durability and effectiveness still have to be of concern.

The Sooners need the nation’s scoring leader to have a better game than he has had over the last several outings if they are going to beat the resurgent Cowboys of Oklahoma State. Young scored a career-high 48 points in OU’s loss at Oklahoma State this season.

Oklahoma owns a 137-98 record in its all-time series with Oklahoma State, but the Sooners have lost of their last four Bedlam basketball games against the Cowboys. The two teams have split 14 games played at Neutral sites.