Oklahoma basketball: Sooners tip off critical two-game road swing at K-State

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners have reached a critical crossroads in the men's Oklahoma basketball season.

The Sooner men, previously ranked No. 11 in the country, are coming off a week in which they lost consecutive games at home in a conference that places a premium on winning games on your home hardwood.

15-5, 3-4. 464. ESPN+. Oklahoma Sooners vs. Kansas State. 14-6, 4-3. 463. Tuesday, Jan. 30. Wildcats -3.5. 7 p.m. CT

What happens over the next eight days will go a long way toward defining what kind of success Oklahoma men's basketball ultimately will have this season. The Sooners head out on the road this week with games at Kansas State on Tuesday and at UCF on Saturday. OU can ill afford to lose both games and remain in the Big 12 race, and it is going to be a tall order against two teams that have played very well at home this season.

The third stop in that three-game gauntlet is back home in Norman against a ranked BYU team that beat Texas by a dozen points over the weekend, the same Longhorn team that handed OU a 15-point home loss earlier that week. If, and that's a giant "if," the Sooners can win two of those three games, it would put them back on the positive side of .500 and perhaps instill new life in a Sooner team that has lost four of its last six games and appears to be sinking fast.

Kansas State appears to be the most dangerous of the next three games for OU, and that is largely due to how good the Wildcats are at home at Bramlage Coliseum, and especially so in recent years hosting Oklahoma.

Oklahoma narrowly leads the all-time series between the two teams 113-104, but K-State is 65-37 against the Sooners in games played in Manhattan and is 9-1 in the Sooners' last 10 visits.

Tuesday's game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. CT and will be streamed on ESPN+.

Five things to know about Oklahoma vs. Kansas State

  • Kansas State is not a high-scoring or high shooting-percentage team and the Wildcats are in the lower half of the Big 12 in rebounding. What they do very well, though, is play tough defense and make you earn your scoring possessions. The Wildcats are third in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing opponents 65.9 points a game, and second in field-goal percentage defense (37.7). Oklahoma must better both marks to win this game.
  • OU has the best free-throw shooter in the Big 12 in Javian McCollum (92 percent), yet the Sooners missed nine free-throws against Texas Tech (15 of 24) one or two of which could have won the game. You cannot miss that many free-throw opportunities and expect to win a game in the Big 12.
  • Kansas State is led offensively by three starters (Cam Carter, 16.3 ppg and 4.7 rebounds; Arthur Kaluma, 15.0 and 7.3; Tylor Perry, 14.0 ppg). Guards Javian McCollum and Otega Oweh led the Sooners, averaging 14.3 and 13.9 points per game, respectively. Although, Georgia Tech transfer Jalon Moore has been a big factor for OU in Big 12 play and he led the team with 19 points against Texas Tech.
  • Head coach Porter Moser lauded the Sooners for soft defensive play in the loss to Texas Tech. He wants OU to be more physical and intentful on the defensive end. In other words, creating offense from defense. This is something to watch for to see how the Sooners respond.
  • In the losses to Texas and Texas Tech last week, the Sooners allowed both teams to shoot 50 percent or better. And that percentage was even higher in the second half. In Oklahoma's road win at Cincinnati, the Sooners held the Bearcats to just 38.6 percent from the field and came away with the win.


Kansas State is a 3.5-point favorite, according to the Las Vegas oddsmakers. The Sooners have a horrible history in the last decade playing on the road at K-State. Both teams are coming off of bad losses. That doesn't bode well for the struggling Sooners. Kansas State adds to OU's woes and wins by 9, 74-65.