March 7, 2009

One for the road? OSU looks for win in Norman

Last time these two teams met, an ice storm was on and Oklahoma managed to escape Stillwater with a win over Oklahoma State.

Back then, the Sooners were on a roll and the Cowboys were a bit of a mess. That was Jan. 26. But now? OSU has won six straight and is 7-3 since the first Bedlam. OU has lost three of its last four games. The Cowboys have seemingly come together and are finally playing as a team. The Sooners are dealing with rumors of discontent, poor guard play and a lack of focus.

So what's all this mean for the Cowboys?

Maybe, just maybe, it sets the stage for OSU to steal a game in Norman. The game is set for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff and will be televised nationally by ABC.

With the Cowboys (20-9 overall, 9-6 Big 12) seemingly having done enough to stake claim to a spot in the NCAA Tournament, the squad is in position to play carefree and without pressure in a game no one logically expects them to win.

With the way both teams played most of the year, that's a pretty good setup going in for the Pokes. OU (24-6, 12-3) has definitely cooled off from where it was at just a few weeks ago, but that doesn't mean they've suddenly become a bad team. They currently hold the No. 4 spot in the rankings and were pretty dominant up until the loss at Texas on Feb. 21.

Since then, however, the Sooners have fallen into a malaise, dropping games to Kansas at home and Missouri on the road. Of course, Blake Griffin has been recovering from injury over this span. He has played almost every minute of the last two games, however, so he looks to be fully back. He's averaged 21.7 points per game and 14.2 rebounds per game on the season. Willie Warren has been a great lift to the Sooners this year, averaging 14.8 ppg.

Last time out, the Sooners were able to outlast the Pokes 89-81 thanks to Austin Johnson coming out of nowhere to score 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point range.

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