Oklahoma basketball: More than bragging rights on line in Bedlam

Feb 22, 2020; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys forward Kalib Boone (22) shoots the ball while defended by Oklahoma Sooners guard Jamal Bieniemy (24) during the second half at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2020; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys forward Kalib Boone (22) shoots the ball while defended by Oklahoma Sooners guard Jamal Bieniemy (24) during the second half at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports /

465. 14-6. Oklahoma -4. 15-6. ABC. Saturday, Feb. 27. 464. 2 PM

The Bedlam series is always  huge in an Oklahoma basketball season, and this year it might be even bigger.

Bedlam is the moniker for all athletic competition between OU and in-state rival Oklahoma State, and Part I of the Bedlam basketball series tips off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. The game will be televised on ABC. Bob Wischusen and Dick Vitale will be on the call.

The game on Saturday was originally scheduled as the regular-season finale for both schools, but because of rescheduling required due to COVID-19 issues, these same two teams will play each other again on Monday. The latter game was originally scheduled on Jan. 16 in Stillwater, but was postponed because of COVID protocols within the Oklahoma State program.

The back-to-back games between the Sooners and Cowboys this season will have much more on the line than just state bragging rights. A top-four spot in the conference standings is at stake as well as a high seeding for the Big 12 Tournament.

This is the the first time since 1943 that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will play back-to-back games.

Oklahoma State (15-6, 8-6) is coming off a big win earlier this week over 18th-ranked Texas Tech and has won four of its last five.  The Sooners (14-6, 9-5), ranked seventh in the country in the Associated Press poll this week, are looking to rebound from a disappointing five-point road loss to Kansas State. The Sooners had won eight of their last nine games before falling at K-State, a team the Cowboys defeated twice this season by an average of 11.5 points.

The game on Saturday at OU will be the 241st meeting on the hardwood between these two longtime in-state rivals. Oklahoma leads the overall series 140-100. The two teams have split the last 10 games. Oklahoma has won nine of the last 10 games played at Lloyd Noble Center, however, and is 87-27 all-time against OSU in games played in Norman.

Oklahoma State is one of the youngest teams in the country, and the young Cowboys are playing extremely well during the month of February.

The Cowboys also boast the Big 12’s leading scorer in true freshman Cade Cunningham, averaging 18.7 points a game. OU senior Austin Reaves is second in the conference behind Cunningham with a 17.3 average.

What fans need to know about Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State

  • Oklahoma State is the only Big 12 team with six different players who average at least 9.0 points a game.
  • Oklahoma senior point guard Austin Reaves leads the Big 12 in scoring in conference games only, averaging 19.0 per game.
  • The Cowboys are second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage (.455) and are No. 1 in the league in FG percentage defense (.401).
  • While the Sooners lead the Big 12 in the fewest turnovers per game (10.5), Oklahoma State is the worst team in the conference, committing almost 16 per game.
  • Oklahoma has won its last six home games this season, scoring an average of 75.5 points while allowing the opponents 61.3. The Sooners are 10-1 at home for the season.
  • Oklahoma State is at its best when its pressure defense allows the Cowboys to get out in a fast-breaking transition game. According to KenPom, Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 in tempo (72.5 possessions per 40 minutes), and they average 15.5 fast-break points per game.
  • The Cowboys have won seven of their last 10 true road games dating back to last season. Oklahoma won last season’s game in Norman, 82-69, with OSU returning the favor in Stillwater, 83-66.
  • Oklahoma State has won just twice at Oklahoma since 2004.
  • Oklahoma is 9-0 this season when it scores at least 78 points. But the Sooners have reached that mark only three times in their last nine games.
  • Oklahoma State is 10-0 this season when holding teams to fewer than 70 points.


Over the years, these two teams have been pretty consistent in protecting their respective home courts. Oklahoma State comes into Saturday’s Bedlam Part I battle winners in six of the last eight games and will have the best player on the court in freshman sensation Cade Cunningham. Several game previews I’ve seen this week favor the Cowboys at both sites because of the way they’re playing in recent games.

Lon Kruger has expressed concern the past two games that the Oklahoma offense needs to get sharper and become more consistent on the offensive end. Among the Sooners 10 home wins this season are three over top-10 teams. You can bet that K-State got Oklahoma’s attention and that the Sooners are preparing for their in-state rival as if it were a top-10 team.

Oklahoma wins by +5 in Norman on Saturday

Oklahoma State wins by +8 when the venue reverses on Monday