Oklahoma basketball: Sooners have to be at best to beat Baylor

Jan 4, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners forward Jacob Groves (34) drives past Baylor Bears forward Jeremy Sochan (1) during the first half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners forward Jacob Groves (34) drives past Baylor Bears forward Jeremy Sochan (1) during the first half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports /

There is no rest for the weary in Big 12 hoops this season, and after three consecutive losses — the last two by a total of four points — men’s Oklahoma basketball knows it’s going to be a dog fight the rest of the season.

Porter Moser’s 2021-22 Sooner team, nine of whom weren’t even on the roster when the new OU head coach first stepped foot in Norman at the beginning of last summer, has shown the moxie and the ability to play with and beat good teams.

The Sooners have wins over three teams ranked in the Associated Press top 15 this season. Believe it or not, Moser is the only coach in OU basketball history to beat three top-15 teams in his first 15 games.

Oklahoma (12-6, 2-4) has played six Big 12 games, a third of its conference schedule, and four of those six games have been against ranked teams.

Next up is Baylor, the 5th-ranked team this week in the Associated Press poll, but the Bears (16-2, 4-2) were undefeated and the top-ranked team in the country just the week before.

Oklahoma is coming off a heart-breaking 67-64 loss at home to Kansas earlier in the week. West Virginia broke a surprising two-game losing streak with a 77-68 win at West Virginia in its last outing.

This is the second meeting this season between the Sooners and the Bears. In the first clash, 19 days ago, Baylor outlasted Oklahoma in Waco by a count of 84-74. OU owns a 41-22 all-time record in the series with Baylor, but the Sooners have lost the last six games against the Bears.

Oklahoma is 23-8 against the Bears in Norman and hasn’t beaten Baylor at Lloyd Noble Center since the 2018 season, and that was by just two points. Trae Young scored 44 points, including a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining in the game to give the Sooners a 98-96 win.

The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tip-off and can be viewed on ESPN+ with Mark Neely and Lance Blanks announcing.

What you need to know about Oklahoma vs. Baylor

  • Baylor ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in practically every major statistical category and features four starters who average double figures in scoring and a fifth starter at 9.7. The Bears are led on offense by James Akinjo and L.J. Cryer, who both average 13.9 points a game.  Akinjo led all scorers with 27 points in the first game this season between OU and Baylor.
  • Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage (49.5) and fourth in the league in scoring (71.9 points per game). The Sooners area led in scoring by Tanner Groves and Umoja Gibson, averaging 12.8 and 12.4 points per game, respectively. In his last two games, however, Groves has been held to just 14 points total.
  • Baylor has won 13 consecutive games away from home and is 17-3 in Big 12 road games over the last three seasons.
  • Baylor’s 79.7 scoring average ranks second in the Big 12. Because of a defense that holds opponents to 60.3 points a game, the Bears rank fifth in the nation in scoring margin, winning games by an average of 19.4 points.
  • Six Big 12 teams rank in KenPom’s top-40 teams. As of games played on Thursday, Oklahoma ranks 32nd. Baylor is No. 2 and Kansas No. 8, the two teams on the Sooners’ schedule this week.


Oklahoma has been playing hard and has battled to the end in most of the games they’ve lost, but Baylor may be the best team in the Big 12, if not the country. Coming off a three-game losing streak, the Sooners are due for a win, but the timing is not good for Oklahoma, having to go up against Baylor and a second-straight top-10 team in the same week. The Sooners will be fortunate to. For OU to pull the upset it is going to have to shorten the game, keep the score in the 50s or 60s, like the Sooners did against Kansas, and shoot the ball close to their 50-percent average. Baylor wins, but by single digits