We Aren't In Kansas Anymore: KU Comes To Norman For Big 12 Battl - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

We Aren't In Kansas Anymore: KU Comes To Norman For Big 12 Battle

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Well here we go again, Oklahoma basketball fans. The No. 3 Sooners will host the most highly-anticipated game of the season on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. when they take on the No. 6 Jayhawks inside of the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, and ESPN’s College Gameday will be along for the ride.

There’s tons of hype surrounding the game due to the matchup between top-10 teams, but let’s also reminisce on what happened the last time these two Big 12 brutes met.

2/11/16 Related Story: Hield Named To Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 List

Inside of Allen Fieldhouse at the beginning of January, Buddy Hield dropped an efficient 46 points and Jordan Woodard added a cool 27 of his own, but the then top-ranked Sooners fell in triple-overtime in front of a rowdy coliseum filled with 16,000 of Phog Allen’s finest fans.  

Those very fans were so in awe of Hield’s performance, that the Bahamian senior was given a standing ovation by the away crowd as he walked off the court post game, and it was Hield who was given the premiere interview on ESPN’s Sportscenter following the game—an honor which is normally reserved for someone from the winning team.

The most recent OU/KU battle was historically epic, but last year’s final matchup between the two teams in Norman doesn’t fall very far down the pecking order of entertaining games. Hield was heroic in that contest as well, with a game-winning tip-in with 0.2 seconds left on the clock to propel OU to a 75-73 win.

That being said, the “Buddy Ball” factor for OU along with the engrained prestige that the KU program carries, means there will be a lot of eyes on Saturday’s conference bout.

Here’s what to know:

Contain Perry Ellis

The distinguished senior has been the face of the Jayhawks for what seems like centuries, and his experience has been instrumental in KU’s success over the last four seasons. Ellis scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds the first time these two teams met, and is averaging 16.9 ppg on the season.

It’ll be up to Khadeem Lattin to protect the paint for OU and had done a pretty good job of doing just that for the Sooners. Lattin had six blocks when they played in Lawrence and is averaging 2.4 on the season, but hasn’t recorded a block in either of OU’s last two games (KSU, UT).

Lattin will need to emerge from his slump, but Ellis also likes to play away from the basket, therefore Lattin will need some help from Ryan Spangler on the defensive end to help slow down the Kansas post players. Spangler did a tremendous job defending Ben Simmons when OU took on LSU in Baton Rouge, so look for him to have a bit more confidence on that end of the floor this time around.

Wayne vs. Buddy

One of the more interesting matchups to watch will be the battle between Buddy Hield and Wayne Selden Jr. Both players have had their fair share of big games, and the NBA microscope will likely be on this personal matchup between two of the best wing players in the country.

Selden torched OU in the second half on Jan. 4, and finished with 21 points in the game. If Saturday’s game turns into a shootout—and it likely will—look for both veterans to be leading the way for their respective teams.

Sooners need to protect home court

Early on in the season it felt as if every big OU matchup went down on the road, well that won’t be the case on Saturday. After using a ruckus Lloyd Noble Center to help propel them to victory on Monday night against Texas, the Sooners will need to take advantage of a sold out arena filled with rowdy OU fans.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see some nerves early on in the game due to the hype surrounding it, but both teams have been on the national stage plenty of times this season, and OU in particular needs to take advantage of the exposure Saturday’s contest brings to the program. 

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