Scouting report: No. 15 Oklahoma.
Game info: 6 p.m. Saturday at MGM Grand Arena (16,800).
TV: ESPNU (Dave Pasch and Sean Farnham).
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM and FM 97.7 (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Lon Kruger is 65-40 (.619) in his fourth year with the Sooners. The 65-year-old coach owns a 544-344 (.613) overall record during his 29-year career. Kruger ranks 15th among active Division I coaches in victories. His stops include: Texas-Pan American (52-59 record from 1982-86), Kansas State (81-46 from 1986-90), Florida (104-80 from 1990-96), Illinois (81-48 from 1996-00) and UNLV (161-71 from 2004-11). He’s the only D-I coach to take five programs (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma) to the NCAA tournament. Kruger also coached the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks from 2000-03 and compiled a 69-122 record.
Prediction: The Sooners garnered a first-place vote and were picked to finish third among 10 teams in the Big 12 preseason media poll.
Series: Oklahoma leads 2-1 in a series that began March 27, 1943 in the NAA tournament. Lorenzo Romar is 1-0 vs. OU.
Last meeting: The 22nd-ranked Huskies beat Oklahoma 96-91 on Nov. 26, 2004 in the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Buddy Hield is a preseason all-Big-12 pick. He was a second team, all-conference choice last season and the top returning scorer at 16.5 points per game. The 6-4 junior guard has had big games against ranked team – he scored 24 points against then-No. 22 UCLA to lead Oklahoma to a 75-65 win. He was also shutdown and held to just nine points on 2-for-11 shooting during a 69-56 loss to then-No. 2 Wisconsin.
Hield’s season high is 25 points. His season low is 5. Kruger is pushing him to be more physical, but Hield is a long-range gunner at heart. He’s taken at least five three-pointers in every game. Against UCLA he was 4 of 13 behind the arc. Hield shoots 37.7 percent on three-pointers and he’s averaging 16 points.
— TaShawn Thomas transferred from Houston where he started the past three years and led the Cougars in scoring (15.4 points), rebounding (8.1), field goal percentage (59.1) and blocks (2.7) last season. The 6-8 senior forward has all-conference ability. He scored a season-high 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting against Tulsa last week.
— After one year (2011-12) at Gonzaga, Ryan Spangler returned home to Oklahoma in 2012 where he was the prep player of the year. He started all 33 games last season. This season, he’s also started every game and averages 10.0 points and 8.4 rebounds. He’s led OU in rebounding in seven of nine games.
— Junior guard Isaiah Cousins is a two-year starter with deadly three-point marksmanship. He’s shooting 45.2 percent (19 of 42) behind the arc. In the past three games, he’s converted 11 of 17. Cousins averages 13.3 points, which is second on the team.
— Oklahoma has faced two ranked teams this season. The Sooners beat then-No. 22 UCLA 75-65 and lost to then-No. 2 Wisconsin 69-56. Four Oklahoma opponents have been ranked at least once in the top 25 polls.
— A balanced offensive attack is one of the secrets of success for Oklahoma. Five Sooners (Cousins, Hield, Spangler, Thomas and reserve Dinjiy Walker) have led them in scoring in the past six games. Four starters average at least 10 points.
— Oklahoma averages 30.8 rebounds, which ranks second among 351 Division I teams.
— Oklahoma has held each of its nine opponents to sub-44-percent field goal shooting (seven opponents have shot 40 percent or less). The Sooners are holding opponents to 61.1 points a game and limiting them to .363 field goal and .288 3-point shooting, which ranks 16th and 44th nationally. Through nine games last year, opponents averaged 75.2 points on .413 field goal and .306 3-point shooting.