Oklahoma Sooners vs. Kansas Jayhawks Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 17th 2024

Both No. 6 Kansas and No. 25 Oklahoma are looking forward to taking some time off next week from the grind of the Big 12 Conference schedule.

But first, they’ll have to get through their meeting Saturday in Norman, Okla.

The Jayhawks are coming off a 79-50 whipping at the hands of Texas Tech on Monday, and are plenty beat up, having had just seven scholarship players available for the second consecutive game.

“We’re beat up and tired right now,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said.

The biggest question for Kansas is the status of Kevin McCullar Jr., the Big 12’s leading scorer.

McCullar has missed the last two games with a bone bruise in his knee that has been an issue since late January. He is averaging 19.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

In Kansas’ 78-66 win over the Sooners on Jan. 13 in Lawrence, McCullar had 21 points.

McCullar, KJ Adams Jr., Dajuan Harris Jr. and Hunter Dickinson combined for 17 assists and two turnovers in that Jayhawks win last month.

Those turnovers were the only ones committed by Kansas, setting a program record.

“Those four really, really … it almost made you think so much that we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be in the second half,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said.

The Jayhawks (19-6, 7-5 Big 12) outscored Oklahoma 40-29 after halftime.

McCullar isn’t the only one of those four to be banged up.

Harris played 36 minutes in Monday’s loss, but he was limited after turning his left ankle late in Kansas’ win over Baylor last weekend.

Self, in his 21st season as the Jayhawks’ head coach, was ejected for the first time in his Kansas tenure in the loss to Texas Tech.

Self said after the game he has been frustrated with the level of physicality allowed this season.

“I don’t feel like the game’s being officiated the way it’s intended to be officiated,” Self said.

While the Jayhawks are hoping to get reinforcements, the Sooners (18-7, 6-6) are likely to have to figure out a way to navigate Kansas and potentially beyond without Rivaldo Soares.

Soares had come on strong lately, averaging 12.8 points per game over his last six after averaging half that over the season’s first 19 games.

Soares had a season-high 17 points in Tuesday’s loss to Baylor before suffering a left ankle injury late that left him unable to put weight on it.

The Sooners were without backup interior presence John Hugley against the Bears as well. Hugley suffered a knee injury in the days leading up to that game.

“We’ve just got to find answers,” Moser said. “No one’s going to feel sorry for anybody with injuries this late.”

Baylor shot 54.9 percent from the floor and 52.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line against the Sooners on Tuesday, the highest percentages against Oklahoma this season.

The Sooners are looking for their first win over the Jayhawks since 2021.

Kansas is just 1-5 on the road in Big 12 play this season.

Saturday’s matchup is the final regular-season meeting between the programs in the Big 12, as Oklahoma makes the move to the Southeastern Conference next season.

–Field Level Media

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