Oklahoma's Big 12 grind continues at Texas

Sooners are 2-3 against ranked teams this season going into a rugged stretch
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Oklahoma’s grind through the loaded Big 12 Conference continues in Austin as the Sooners prepare for their fifth matchup with a top-10 team.

No. 24-ranked Oklahoma (9-4 overall, 5-3 Big 12) is 2-3 against ranked opponents, is on a three-game win streak and hopes to keep it rolling Tuesday night against the No. 5 Texas Longhorns (11-2, 5-1).

Six of Oklahoma's next seven games are against ranked opposition, including Saturday's 11 a.m. home game with Alabama. 

Last time out, Lon Kruger’s team got its signature win of the season with a 75-68 home victory over No. 9 Kansas.

“It’s been difficult every year, this year may be a little more extreme,” Kruger said of the relentless Big 12 schedule. “The defenses this year across the league are just a little better from top to bottom than they’ve ever been, and they’ve always been good.”

Kruger’s team has stepped up its defense this season, especially during this win streak. Along with the top-10 victory over Kansas, the Sooners won by 36 and 26 points over Kansas State and TCU, respectively.

With Brady Manek playing a limited role off the bench since his return from COVID-19, sophomore De’Vion Harmon has shined. Harmon scored just one shy of his career high of 23 against both TCU and Kansas as well as a 16-point performance against the Wildcats.

The Red River Rivalry tips off at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 at the Erwin Center in Austin. Texas hasn’t played in 10 days, and the Longhorns found out Monday they’ll be without head coach Shaka Smart, who announced he tested positive for COVID-19.

Texas will hope to make up for its lack of leadership on the bench with the experience of a veteran roster, which features every player back from last season — including four double-figure scorers, led by junior Andrew Jones (14.4 ppg).

The Sooners have their work cut out for them in this first of three straight top-10 matchups in yet another brutal part of the schedule. But that challenge also provides an opportunity to make some real noise ahead of the NCAA Tournament if OU can pull off an upset or two.