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OU basketball: After snapping their six-game losing streak, the Sooners can burst a bubble in Waco

Oklahoma's Trae Young (11) and Christian James (0) react during overtime of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck)
OU basketball: After snapping their six-game losing streak, the Sooners can burst a bubble in Waco

SOONERS CAN END EIGHT-GAME ROAD SKID AGAINST BAYLOR

Heading into Saturday’s game against Kansas State, Oklahoma (17-11, 7-9 Big 12) was heading in the wrong direction for the NCAA Tournament. After their 86-77 win, the pressure of March is now behind the Sooners, and they can try and burst a bubble against Baylor (17-12, 7-9) tonight.

The Bears are in the Last Four In according to ESPN bracketologist, Joe Lunardi. The Sooners were playing themselves right onto the bubble before their win on Saturday, and are now playing an opponent that is in the similar position. Oklahoma’s road struggles are well documented–losing their last eight games on the road–and will be up against a team playing for their lives tonight in Waco.

WHEN: 8:00 p.m. CST

WHERE: Waco, Texas

TV: ESPN 2

LISTEN: 107.7 The Franchise OKC; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa

YOUNG CAN MAKE HISTORY

Early on in the season, Oklahoma freshman phenom Trae Young was doing things on the basketball court that college basketball had not seen in many years…or ever. Even with his recent lull during Oklahoma’s six-game losing streak, he is still set to break records.

Young is currently at 793 points on the season, and only needs three points to break Michael Beasley’s (795) Big 12 record for points in a season. If the freshman scores seven points, he will be only the second player–and first freshman–from a major conference to score 800 points during the regular season in the last two decades. J.J. Reddick scored 833 points in 2005-2006, and Young only needs 41 points in the next two games to surpass the former Duke star.

JAMES THE LEADER

Most people assumed that senior Khadeem Lattin would step into the leadership role this season. Then, it was supposed to be Trae Young who they would lean on. During the Sooners most recent skid, one voice stood out in practices and in games louder than the rest: Christian James.

“We actually didn’t, but I talked to them and said I felt like our season was on the line,” James said on Saturday about a potential team meeting. “We needed this. We came out and competed and fought and it showed tonight.”

The sophomore had, well, a season-long slump a year ago worth forgetting. One could tell that early on in practices before this season that all it was was a “sophomore slump”, and he is now turned into one of Oklahoma’s most important players.

“I try to be, especially on defense,” he said about being a leader. “When the game gets down to crunch time, I try to be that vocal leader and try to keep everyone together.”

BIG 12 TOURNAMENT SEEDING ON THE LINE

Oklahoma and Baylor come into tonight’s game tied for sixth in the Big 12. The loser (7-seed) likely ends up playing on Wednesday night of the Big 12 Tournament, the winner (6-seed) gets to wait until Thursday.

Both teams can rise up to fifth with wins in their next two games, too. TCU is currently at 8-8 in the conference, and does not hold the tiebreaker with either team. The Sooners swept the Horned Frogs this season, and Baylor has a win against Big 12 No. 1 Kansas.

There is a scenario where Oklahoma can rise up to fourth with two wins in their final two games. TCU would have to go 1-1, and Kansas State 0-2 in their final two games.

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