At this time of year in the NCAA Men’s Basketball season, there are teams who are highly ranked. Those teams are usually the clear cut favorites to win the National Championship. The teams begin revving up their game for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma Sooners
This season, it seems that the NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings constantly change every week. An unranked team has been pulling off huge upsets against ranked teams this season. It seems like a game of musical chairs. No team is a clear cut favorite heading into the NCAA Tournament, which is better known as March Madness, to win the National Championship. Currently, two Big 12 teams sit at the top of the NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings. Those two teams are the Kansas Jayhawks and the Oklahoma Sooners. Both of these teams are bona fide National title contenders this year, and they’re probably on a collision course to meet in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The Kansas Jayhawks are currently the #1 ranked team in the country. Kansas is 15-2 in the Big 12 Conference, but lead the Oklahoma Sooners only by a game in the Big 12. Head coach Bill Self is trying to guide his Jayhawks to their first National title since 2008. This team has some talented guard play. Junior Frank Mason III. is averaging 13.2 points on the season and he is also averaging 5.2 assists. He has a .434-percentage in field goals, .404-percentage from three and is an excellent free throw shooter. Devonte’ Graham has been having a solid year; he is only averaging 10.2 points this season. But, Graham has a .434 field goal-percentage and he is also .435 from three-point range. The Jayhawks are 18th in the country in defensive efficiency, and 25th in opponent field goal percentage.
The Oklahoma Sooners are the #2 ranked team in the country. Oklahoma is the #1 team in the Big 12 Conference, and they only trail the Kansas Jayhawks by a game in the conference. Head coach Lou Kruger is trying to lead the Sooners to its first National Championship in the university’s history. They were knocked off last year in the Sweet Sixteen by Michigan State in a close game. Like Kansas, the Sooners have some good guard play in Jordan Woodard. This season, Woodard is averaging 15.1 points per game and averaging 3.7 assists per game as well as 3.2 rebounds. He is .464 field goal percentage and a .556-percentage from three-point range. The Sooners are 25th in the country in defensive efficiency, and they are 18th in the country in opponent field goal percentage.
These two teams have already faced each other earlier this season. The Jayhawks came away with a 109-106 triple overtime win in Kansas. Woodard scored 27 points, and he hit six three-pointers in the game, but he wasn’t the leading scorer. Buddy Hield led Kansas with a season-high 46 points. The Jayhawks and Sooners face each other again on February 13 in Oklahoma, and this has the making for another classic, close game. One of these teams could also be playing in this year’s Final Four.
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By Quentin Congress