Kansas Jayhawks vs. Oklahoma Sooners Pick & Prediction JANUARY 13th 2024

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After a two-day stretch brought losses for all three of the Big 12 teams ranked in the top 10 including his third-ranked Kansas squad, Jayhawks coach Bill Self said the importance of this weekend’s games is elevated.

“The depth of the league’s great,” Self said. “You’re going into Week 2 (of Big 12 play) and there’s must-win games. Who would’ve ever thought in a 19-game season you’d have must-win games going into Week 2, but that’s kind of how it feels right now for not only us but for others as well.”

Saturday, Self’s No. 3 Jayhawks take on No. 9 Oklahoma in Lawrence, Kan.

Both teams are looking for bounce-back games after Wednesday road losses.

Kansas fell to Big 12 newcomer UCF 65-60 to snap a nine-game winning streak while Oklahoma’s three-game winning streak ended with an 80-71 loss at TCU.

For the Sooners (13-2, 1-1 Big 12), Saturday’s game is a chance to break their long losing streak to the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse before Oklahoma makes the move to the SEC next season.

The Sooners haven’t won in Lawrence since 1993, dropping 22 consecutive games in the historic venue.

Saturday’s game will be the third the teams have played in Lawrence as top 10 opponents during that streak.

In 2016, the top-ranked Jayhawks beat No. 2 Oklahoma 109-106 in triple overtime. In 2002, No. 4 Kansas beat the No. 5 Sooners 74-67.

While there have been several blowouts during the stretch, plenty of the matchups have been close, including four of the past five.

The Jayhawks (13-2, 1-1) have won five straight games against the Sooners. Their last matchup was a Kansas 78-55 victory on Norman, Okla. Prior to that game, Kansas’ four wins came by a combined 16 points.

Kansas averages 12.9 turnovers per game, but the Jayhawks have turned the ball over 18 times in each of their first two Big 12 games.

“We’ve got to take care of the ball,” Self said. “We did some things that I think good teams shouldn’t do.”

Oklahoma is forcing just 13.3 turnovers per game, and just 7.5 per game in their first two conference games.

Otega Oweh entered Big 12 play as the Sooners’ leading scorer, but he has set a season low in scoring in each of the past two games, going a combined 2 for 10 from the field and 1 for 7 from inside the arc. He is averaging 14.3 points per game.

Oklahoma has moved the ball well lately, with 36 assists on their 50 made shots over the past two games.

“It is our system,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said. “Pace is space and taking that. …. That’s really good basketball. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson, who is averaging 18.9 points per game, was limited to 28 minutes in Wednesday’s loss. It was Dickinson’s fewest minutes since early Nov. 10.

Self said Dickinson was dealing with what he called a “bad knee.”

“I don’t know,” Self said when asked if Dickinson’s health needed to be monitored moving forward. “I don’t think so. It’s just a bruised knee, but we’ll see. We’ve been really fortunate — knock on wood — with our health so far because we don’t have a lot of depth.”

–Field Level Media

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