It’s a pretty big matchup on the hardwood in the middle of the country when the Big 12 meets the AAC in non-conference action. The Oklahoma Sooners make the trip north as they battle the #3 Wichita State Shockers Saturday afternoon. Oklahoma has won five straight after edging USC 85-83 on the road last Friday night. Wichita State has won four in a row after downing Oklahoma State 78-66 on the road last Saturday. The Shockers have taken two of the three previous meetings, including a 76-73 win at Oklahoma in the last matchup on December 10, 2016.
Oklahoma Sooners Seek Upset Road Victory
Oklahoma picked up an impressive road win as they beat USC last Friday night to improve to 7-1 on the season. The Sooners seek a second straight upset road win over a ranked foe here as they travel to face the Shockers. Oklahoma led by 12 at the half and still held a 10 point edge with 1:40 to go but had to white knuckle things as the Trojans rallied. The Sooners shot 44.8 percent from the field but they did knock down 15 of 31 three point attempts in the game. Oklahoma was 10 of 16 at the line and allowed USC to control the glass by a 45-32 margin. Trae Young had 29 points and nine assists to lead the Sooners in the win.
The Sooners are explosive offensively, ranking 3rd in the nation in scoring offense as they put up an average of 93.3 points per game. Oklahoma stands tied for 36th in the country with 40.6 rebounds a night and 17th as they hand out 18.3 assists per game. The Sooners are below average defensively, ranking 313th in scoring defense as they allow 80.1 points per contest. Oklahoma is shooting 49.8 percent from the floor this season. The Sooners average 10.4 three pointers a game while shooting 36.6 percent from beyond the arc. Oklahoma is shooting well at the free throw line, cashing in 74.4 percent of their chances at the stripe this season. Trae Young leads the team with 28.8 points, 8.8 assists and 2.3 steals per contest. Christian James (12.8 points, 4.1 boards) and Khadeem Lattin (10.4 points, 8.8 rebounds) are both scoring in double figures as well. Brady Manek, Kameron McGusty, Jordan Shepherd, Jamuni McNease, Matt Freeman and Rashard Odomes all add at least five points a game for the Sooners this season.
Wichita State Shockers Look for Fifth Straight Win
Wichita State rolled to an impressive road win over Oklahoma State to improve to 8-1 on the year. The Shockers are just one point away from being undefeated as their lone loss was a 67-66 defeat against then-#13 Notre Dame last month. Wichita State played a low scoring first half against the Cowboys, leading 26-23, before outscoring Oklahoma State 52-43 in the second half for the win. The Shockers shot 44.4 percent from the field and 12 of 26 from three point range in the contest to overcome 19 turnovers. Wichita State won the battle of the boards 36-26 and cashed in 26 of 32 free throws: Landry Shamet led the team with 30 points in the win.
The Shockers are 24th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 86.9 points per game. Wichita State is 7th in the nation in rebounding by pulling down 44.1 boards a night while the team is 19th with 18.2 assists per contest. The Shockers are 100th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 68.2 points a night. Shaquille Morris is second on Wichita State with 13.3 points plus 4.9 rebounds per contest. Landry Shamet (team high 16.3 points, 4.3 assists), Conner Frankamp (11.8 points, 2.7 assists) and Darral Willis Jr. (11.7 points, 6.4 rebounds) are all scoring in double figures. Austin Reaves, Zach Brown, Rauno Nurger and Samajae Haynes-Jones are solid role players for the Shockers. Wichita State is shooting 50.1 percent from the floor as a team. The Shockers are hitting 9.4 three pointers a night while shooting 39.9 percent as a team from beyond the arc. Wichita State is cashing in on 75.8 percent of their opportunities at the free throw line this season.
- Sooners are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- Sooners are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games
- Sooners are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- Shockers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games
- Shockers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600
This one should be a high scoring affair as a pair of teams that like to push the tempo and shoot from the perimeter lock up. Young carried the Sooners to the win over USC and will need another big game to give them a shot on the road against the experienced and battle-tested Shockers. Wichita State has plenty of grit and can make life difficult for teams on the defensive end of the floor. The Shockers have home court advantage and that, coupled with their defense, is enough to get them the nod here and a sweep of the Oklahoma schools from the Big 12.
Pick: Wichita State Shockers -7
Look for a lot of possessions and shots early in the shot clock in this one. These teams aren’t intent on grinding the clock under 10 seconds to try and get a shot. Oklahoma has a dynamic playmaker in Young who not only leads the team in scoring but in assists as well: he is third in the nation in that category going into Friday night’s action. Wichita State will test him with their tough defense and will try to force the ball out of his hands to try and make other players beat them. Offensively, you know what to expect from the Shockers: Shamet will lead the way but he can distribute. With the weapons that Wichita State has, any one of a variety of names could put up a big night.
The over is 4-0 in the Sooners’ last 4 vs. American Athletic Conference foes, 5-0 in their last 5 games following a ATS loss, 8-1 in their last 9 overall, 7-1 in their last 8 non-conference games and 14-3 in their last 17 games following a straight up win. Wichita State has seen the over go 6-2 in their last eight against the Big 12. With both teams among the top 25 in the nation in scoring offense, this one likely goes over the total.