OU basketball: Five things to know about the Sooners vs. UCF

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

There isn't much Oklahoma basketball history with the team from Central Florida. And with the Sooners moving to the SEC next season, it will probably remain that way.

When No. 23 Oklahoma meets up with Big 12 newcomer UCF in Orlando on Saturday, it will be just the third game ever between the two schools. The Sooners won the previous two games. Both games were extremely close. Oklahoma won 53-52 in 2019 in Norman, and UCF returned the favor two years later, winning 64-62 in Orlando in Moser's first season as the Sooners' head coach.

OU (16-5, 4-4) is coming off of a 20-point road win over Kansas State that snapped a two-game conference losing streak. UCF, meanwhile, is hopeful of ending a two-game winless streak of its own, losing at Cincinnati and to Baylor at home earlier in the week.

The Knights are just 3-5 in Big 12 play, but they can be a dangerous team as demonstrated with wins over 7th-ranked Kansas and at Texas this season, and they led Baylor midway through the second half on Tuesday.

The Sooners played perhaps their best defensive game of the season earlier this week in the 73-53 win at Kansas State. Head coach Porter Moser said afterwards that the guys had good communication, were very active trying to get deflections and were locked in defensively. The results of that intensity were clearly reflected in the box score with OU holding K-State to a season-low 30 percent shooting for the game and just 14 percent on three balls.

Oklahoma is going to need that same level of defensive pressure and physical presence against a bigger UCF team that also plays very well defensively, limiting opponents to 65 points a game. And, oh yeah, this is a home game for the Knights.

The game is set for 3 p.m. CT and will be available on ESPN+

Five things to know about Oklahoma at UCF

  • UCF is led on the offensive end by Ball State transfer Jaylin Sellars, who averages 17. points per game, fifth best in the Big 12. Junior Darius Johnson also averages in double figures at 14.3. The Knights average 72 points a game, six fewer than Oklahoma, but they make up for it on the defensive end, allowing opponent just 65 points a game.
  • UCF is 9-4 playing at home this season, 9-3 when it leads at halftime and 10-3 when leading with 10 minutes to go in the game and 6-1 when scoring at least 70 points.
  • UCF leads the Big 12 in blocked shots, averaging 5.35 per game. Seven-foot Ibrahima Diallo leads the Big 12 in that category and Six-foot, 10-inch Omar Payne ranks 8th in the conference.
  • The Oklahoma men are ranked 27th nationally and 6th in the Big 12 in the NCAA NET rankings. Ten Big 12 teams are in the top 40. UCF ranks 75th and 11th in the conference in NET.
  • Oklahoma has three starters scoring in double figures: Javian McCollum (14.6), Otega Oweh (13.4) and Jalon Moore (10.3).


Both times previously that these two teams have met it has been a nip and tuck game right to the end. I don't see this one going any differently. In conference play, the Sooners have actually played better on the road this year than they have at home. How OU is able to counter the length and physicality of the UCF bigs at the rim on both ends of the floor will be a major factor in the outcome. I'm going with OU to hold off UCF in another tight one: Oklahoma 73, UCF 69.