Saturday was a very different day for both Kansas State and Oklahoma.
The Sooners grinded out an 87-82 win over unbeaten Iowa State at home, before the Wildcats’ 10-game winning streak skidded to a halt with an 86-60 loss at Kansas.
Oklahoma guard Cameron Clark shouts after dunking during against Oklahoma Christian on Nov. 4 in Norman, Okla. Clark is averaging a Big 12-best 18.3 points per game this season. The Wildcats host the Sooners tonight at 6).
Tonight, the Wildcats welcome the Sooners into Bramlage Coliseum for a game that could be key for early positioning in the middle of the Big 12 race.
K-State (12-4, 2-1) will be looking to get things turned around against a Sooners team that just picked up its biggest win of the season. K-State’s loss this past weekend dropped it out of the AP Top 25, and while the Cats are still receiving votes, Oklahoma (13-3, 2-1) checked in at No. 25 this week.
Wildcats’ coach Bruce Weber said he hopes his team will show the resiliency to move on from its most recent loss with another big game on the docket.
“I hope they’re disappointed in the game,” he said. “It’s not in losing, it’s in (not) playing as hard as you needed to, especially at Kansas. They broke our spirit a little bit, made some plays, some shots — now you regroup. You’re just going to have to, every game, go play.”
The Wildcats will be battling a team that features five players scoring in double figures, and an offense that has reached at least 80 points in 13 of its 16 games.
The Sooners are led by Cameron Clark, who averages a Big 12-best 18.3 points per game, and causes matchup issues for teams with his ability to play in, and out, of the post.
“He’s obviously the leading scorer in the league and he’s had some huge games against very good defensive teams,” Weber said. “It’s a nightmare of a matchup. He really is a guard and they have him playing at that hybrid-four. We’ve just got to have great awareness with him.”
The Wildcats had built their reputation on defense during the 10-game winning streak that Kansas snapped on Saturday with one of its best offensive performances of the season.
The Jayhawks shot 65 percent from the floor in the first half and added a ridiculous line of 14 assists to no turnovers.
Against Oklahoma, the Wildcats will be facing yet another high-powered offense, but a team that has played tough agaisnt teams that look to shoot 3s. That could be bad news for a K-State team that made just one 3-pointer at KU.
In the Sooners’ win over Iowa State, the Cyclones attempted 26 3s and made just six.
Weber said his team will have to contend with Oklahoma’s ability to force shooters to take long, contested shots.
“The big thing is they were able to get to the shooters,” Weber said. “They switched, got to the shooters, and Iowa State scored some points in the second half but just didn’t seem to get into the rhythm they usually do.”