After a truncated Oklahoma basketball schedule in December because of COVID-19 issues, the Sooners are about to exit the month of January the same way they entered it.
Oklahoma’s first three games in January were all against teams ranked in the top 10 — No. 9 West Virginia, No. 2 Baylor, then-No. 4 Kansas — and the Sooners face a similar challenge as the head into the final week of the month.
Of the six Big 12 teams the Sooners have faced this month, four were ranked among the nation’s top-10 teams at the time the game was played. And this coming week, Oklahoma will go up against two more ranked teams.
There’s a good reason why the Big 12 is ranked No. 1 both strength of schedule and overall RPI. Five conference teams are ranked in the top-15 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the Coaches Poll.
And if you factor in the ESPN College Basketball Power Index, which claims to be a “measure of a team’s strength meant to be the best predictor of performance going forward” for the rest of the season, the Big 12 is represented by six teams ranked in the top 20. In that analysis, incidentally, Oklahoma is ranked 17th, ahead of No. 19 West Virginia and No. 20 Kansas.
The Sooners are 4-2 so far in January and are 2-2 in the month against ranked teams.
Here are some of the other notable numbers for Sooner basketball in the month of January :
2 — Two Oklahoma players have received weekly Big 12 honors so far in January. North Texas transfer Umoja Gibson was named Big 12 Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week for the week of Jan. 4, and Cal State Northridge transfer Elijah Harkless was honored as Newcomer of the Week on Jan. 25.
4 — Oklahoma is 8-1 at home this season, and four of those victories have been in January.
9.2 — Average number of Oklahoma turnovers per game through six games in January, best in the Big 12. For the season, the Sooners are averaging 10.3 per game, 14th best nationally.
13 — Junior Elijah Harkless had 13 rebounds in OU’s win over Kansas State on Jan. 19. That same night, he also contributed eight points, six assists and two steals.
14.5 — Scoring average by senior Austin Reaves in January, just a tick under his team-leading 15.2 average for the season.
18.2 — Margin of victory in the four games the Sooners’ have won in January through games of Jan. 23.
20.0 — Scoring average in the last three games by sophomore point guard De’Vion Harmon.
22 — Twice this month, De’Vion Harmon has scored 22 points in a game (against TCU on Jan. 12 and this past Saturday against Kansas).
29 — Reserve guard Umoja Gibson owns the highest-scoring game in January by a Sooner player. Gibson scored 29 in the OU win over West Virginia on Jan. 2. He was 8 of 11 from behind the three-point line.