Big 12 Basketball

Oklahoma Basketball Enters Season Defining Gauntlet

In his first season, head coach Porter Moser has his Sooners’ men’s basketball team performing well with an 11-3 record that includes two victories over ranked foes (No.14 Florida and No.12 Arkansas). Oklahoma’s three losses (Utah State, Butler, and No. 1 Baylor) were by a combined seventeen points. Yet, OU remains outside the Top 25 in the polls.

After a victory over Kansas State to open conference actions last weekend, Moser’s Sooners have their greatest challenges yet—six ranked teams during the next 25 days.

The first test began last night when OU headed into the Bears’ den in Waco to take on the No. 1 Baylor Bears, defending national and Big 12 champs. Oklahoma fought tooth and nail and was standing toe-to-toe with the No. 1 team in the land with under a minute to go, down 77-72. The Bears pulled away, winning 84-74, as the final seconds drudged along through fouls and free throws, but the Sooners proved that they are no doormat in the uber tough Big 12.

 

Up next for the Sooners are the Iowa State Cyclones, who took Baylor to the wire on Saturday but ultimately came up short.

The Cyclones did hold the Bears below their scoring averages in a 77-72 loss at Hilton Coliseum last Saturday. Iowa State, which dropped from 8th to 11th, will invade Norman at 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).

ISU is seventh in the conference, scoring 73 ppg and No. 2 by yielding 57.7 ppg. The Cyclones meet No. 25 Texas Tech on Wednesday before traveling to Norman this weekend.

In six days, the Sooners hit the road for a Red River showdown in Austin. Texas, currently No. 14 in the AP poll and 16th in the coaches’ rankings. Oklahoma is back on the road again on January 15 for a meeting with unranked TCU. While the Horned Frogs aren’t receiving any love from the pollsters, they currently sport a 10-1 record; 6-0 at Schollmaier Arena. The Frogs haven’t played a game since December 21 due to Covid-19 protocols. One non-conference game was canceled, and two Big 12 contests (Kansas and West Virginia) were postponed.

No. 6 Kansas comes to the Lloyd Noble Center on January 18, and Oklahoma’s first conference rematch comes on January 22 when Baylor invades the LNC. West Virginia, 11-2, awaits the Sooners on January 26 in Morgantown, where the Mountaineers are 8-0 at WVU Coliseum.

OU wraps up the slate with a trip to No. 9 Auburn on January 29 for the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

The next month or so will define Oklahoma’s season and will test the resolve of a team that was a complete rebuild coming into the year. No doubt Porter Moser is up to the challenge as he upset highly-ranked teams in the NCAA tournament (2018 and 2021) with his former team Loyola University Chicago.

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