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Preview: Oklahoma at No. 8 Kansas

2/1/2012

Coming off its best win of the season, Oklahoma travels to Kansas on Wednesday night. The Sooners suffered a 72-61 loss to the Jayhawks at the Lloyd Noble Center on Jan. 7 and are looking to split the regular season series with a road win.

The Sooners would love to get another 30-point effort from guard Steven Pledger but it will take solid defense and slowing down Thomas Robinson for OU to win in Lawrence, Kan.

Key to OU win: Containing Thomas Robinson. The KU forward is the only Big 12 player who is averaging a double double (17.5 points, 11.8 rebounds) this season. OU will need to force him into a poor shooting night and keep him off the boards or get him into foul trouble.

Key to KU win: Knocking the Sooners out of their offensive rhythm. If they are able to force Pledger away from his sweet spots and force other Sooners to carry the offensive load, they should be able to hold OU to a low shooting percentage.

Stat line that will tell the tale: Points in the paint. KU held a 48-12 advantage in that category in the Jan. 7 meeting. That cannot happen again if the Sooners hope to win.

Sooners X factor: Andrew Fitzgerald. The Jayhawks are going to go inside to Robinson so the Sooners need to return the favor with Fitzgerald and try to get KU’s monster forward in foul trouble.

Jayhawks X factor: Travis Releford. He was a huge reason why KU knocked of the Sooners in the first meeting with 28 points on 9 of 13 shooting.