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Sooners Take Aim At No. 5 Kansas Tonight

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Norman -

Trae Young and the No. 12 Sooners have another huge opportunity to pick up a top 10 win against fifth-ranked Kansas tonight at 6 p.m. CT.

More importantly, Oklahoma (14-4, 4-3) needs a win to stick within a game of the first-place Jayhawks in the rough-and-tumble Big 12. Kansas (16-3, 6-1) has won the past 13 regular season conference titles and if Bill Self wins tonight in Norman, the Jayhawks will open a two-game lead on second-place West Virginia and Kansas State.

But if Trae Young and the Restless are going to dethrone KU, they’ll need more from the Restless. In Saturday’s 83-81 overtime loss to Oklahoma State, the Sooners’ bench was outscored 28-7. After getting 30, 28 and 24 bench points in the first three Big 12 games, OU has averaged just 10.7 bench points in the four games since.

Where is Kam McGusty? The sophomore has seen his minutes dwindle to just 10 per game over the last three contests. OU needs its top bench scorer to reappear.

While Trae Young is shouldering the scoring load, it would be nice if someone else would establish themselves as the No. 2 option. Christian James should probably be that guy, but he’s struggling with Big 12 competition too. James averaged 13.3 points during the non-conference slate but that average dipped to 9.5 points in conference play.

Brady Manek has been inconsistent, but that’s to be expected from a freshman going through his first Big 12 guantlet. Outside of two monster performances at home against OSU and TCU, Manek has averaged 5.2 points and shot 22 percent from three against conference foes.

And Young isn’t blameless either. The super-frosh has to cut down on turnovers – he’s committed 28 over the past three games. Trae can’t give Kansas the ball 10 times and expect to win.

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