Wobbly OU basketball men host wounded KU Jayhawks in top-25 battle

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The men's Oklahoma basketball program has not been on an equal footing with the blueblood Kansas Jayhawks seemingly forever. It is the complete opposite of what it has been in football between these two longtime conference foes.

While the Sooners own a commanding 80-28-6 advantage in the all-time football series with Kansas, the Jayhawks have dominated OU on the hardwood winning 157 times against 69 defeats. The last time the Sooner men won a game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence was 1993, including a 78-66 loss last month.

The two teams will meet a second time this season on Saturday in Norman, where Oklahoma has fared better against Kansas historically. The Sooners still have a losing record to Kansas in games played on OU's home court, but the margin is much smaller with the Jayhawks owning a 53-45 road record against the Sooners. KU has won its last two games at the Lloyd Noble Center and six of the last 10. It's been three seasons since the last time the Sooners posted a win over Kansas: a 75-68 victory in Norman in 2021.

This will be the second straight road game for the 6th-ranked Jayhawks, who are just 1-5 on the road in the Big 12 this season, including an embarrassing 79-50 loss at Texas Tech on Monday. Despite a 19-6 overall record and top-10 ranking, Kansas is an uncharacteristic 7-5 in the Big 12 and currently in fifth place in the conference standings.

No. 25 Oklahoma also is coming off a bad road loss, falling 79-62 at Baylor on Tuesday. The Sooners are 18-6 and 6-6 in the Big 12 and occupy eighth place in the league standings.

How to watch

The game will be televised on ESPN beginning at 3 p.m. CT. Rich Hollenberg will call the game with Fran Fraschilla providing analysis.

Five things to know about Kansas vs. OU at LNC on Saturday

  • Oklahoma and Kansas have met 227 times in men's basketball in a series totally dominated by the Jayhawks. Barring a meeting in this year's postseason conference tournament or a random matchup in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday's game will likely be the last time these two schools will play each other in college hoops.
  • Seniors Kevin McCullar Jr. and Hunter Dickinson are one and two in the Big 12 and for Kansas in scoring, averaging 18.3 and 18.1 points, respectively. There is some question, however, about McCullar's availability for Saturday's game. The 6-foot, 7-inch former Texas Tech transfer has missed the past two games with a lingering knee issue. Former Michigan All-American Dickinson leads the Big 12 in rebounding, pulling down an average of 10 rebounds per game.
  • Oklahoma also has some roster issues ahead of the Kansas game. Reserve forward Rivaldo Soares, who led the Sooners with 17 points in Tuesday's loss at Baylor injured his ankle late in that game and had to be helped off the court. His availability is uncertain. Also, 6-foot, 10-inch John Hugely IV didn't even make the trip to Baylor, left at home nursing a knee injury. Whether he will be available for Saturday's game is up in the air. And starter Jalon Moore was battling flu symptoms in the Baylor game but did play. The Sooners need all of these guys if they are going to beat a very good Kansas team.
  • Oklahoma is 610-127 all-time in games at the Lloyd Noble Center, a winning percentage of .829. That home winning percentage is second in the Big 12 only to Kansas' .879 (853-117) at historic Allen Fieldhouse.
  • OU will honor former Oklahoma head coach Billy Tubbs and the golden era of Sooner basketball during the Kansas game on Saturday. The former coach's family and some of his former players will be on hand to honor the winningest coach in Oklahoma basketball history. Tubbs coached for 14 seasons (1980-94) at OU and compiled a 333-132 (.716) record. Under Tubbs, the Sooners went to nine NCAA Tournaments, including four Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights and the 1988 national championship game, which ironically No. 1-seeded Oklahoma lost to Kansas and "Danny Manning and the Miracles."