basketball-men-d1 flag

Dave Skretta | The Associated Press | January 4, 2016

Kansas, Oklahoma face off in 1-2 matchup in Lawrence

  Kansas and Oklahoma face off in a rare No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup on Monday night.

LAWRENCE, Kan. — There is a nice bit of symmetry to the fact that Kansas and Oklahoma are meeting Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse as the top two teams in the country.

That's because they were also 1-2 the last time their league had such a matchup.

Of course, those were the days of the old Big Eight, before the Big 12 expanded to 12 — and then became 10. It happened in the conference tournament semifinals at Kansas City's Kemper Arena, when the top-ranked Sooners ran roughshod over the second-ranked Jayhawks on their way to the title.

This time, Kansas is No. 1 and Oklahoma is No. 2 after top-ranked Michigan State lost to Iowa this past week.

"It's going to be fun," Sooners star Buddy Hield said.

The matchup comes just three days into the conference schedule. The Jayhawks blew out No. 23 Baylor 102-74 on Saturday while the Sooners rallied past No. 11 Iowa State 87-83, setting up the 1-2 matchup.

Kansas (12-1) has not lost since blowing a lead against the Spartans in the Champions Classic in Chicago in mid-November. The Sooners (12-0) are off to their best start in 28 years.

The two teams couldn't be more similar, starting with their experience.

The Jayhawks return most of their core from last season, led by high-scoring guard Wayne Selden and steady Perry Ellis, making them one of Bill Self's most experienced teams.

Oklahoma has four players — Hield, Isaiah Cousins, Jordan Woodard and Ryan Spangler — that have each started the last 80 games. Khadeem Lattin gives the Sooners's top five 332 combined starts.

Then there's their composition.

MORE: Full Associated Press Top 25 poll

The Jayhawks have become a backcourt-oriented team that starts two point guards in Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham. They're shooting 46 percent from the 3-point line, second best in the NCAA, and are averaging 88.3 points, trailing only The Citadel and Duke.

The Sooners likewise have a pair of exceptional ball-handlers in Cousins and Woodard. Throw in Hield and Oklahoma has a backcourt trio that is a big reason the Sooners are shooting 45.3 percent from 3, a notch behind Kansas, and averaging 87 points — sixth-best nationally.

"I've seen them play a couple of times. I watch their guards and stuff," Graham said. "They're aggressive, just like we are. They can knock down open shots. Good one-on-one players. We have to keep them out of the paint, just like we have to keep them out of the paint."

The last meeting between No. 1 and No. 2 occurred on Nov. 12, 2013, when Michigan State knocked off Kentucky in Chicago. But there have only been five such meetings since the turn of the century, and one of those was the 2005 national title game when North Carolina beat Illinois.

Even rarer is a 1-2 matchup at Allen Fieldhouse.

The storied building has bathed in such a spotlight only once, when second-ranked Missouri beat No. 1 Kansas 77-71 on Feb. 13, 1990. Self was a young assistant at Oklahoma State at the time, and the Jayhawks would go on to lose to the Sooners in that other 1-2 matchup a few weeks later.

This article was written by Dave Skretta from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Everything Les Miles said at his first Big 12 media days as Kansas coach

After two years away from coaching, Les Miles is back on the sideline as Kansas football's head coach. On Monday, he took the podium in Arlington, Texas for 2019 Big 12 media days. Here's everything the new Jayhawks coach said at Monday's session.
READ MORE

These are the 5 most important players in the Big 12 for the 2019-20 college basketball season

The Big 12 was a conference full of parity, excitement and intensity last year, and the 2019-20 season will look similar. Here are the five players Andy Katz expects to make a lasting impact on their teams this season.
READ MORE

11 top power forwards that could win the 2019-20 Karl Malone Award

Here are the top 11 candidates for the 2019-20 Karl Malone Award, handed to the best power forward in the nation.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners