Big Monday starts with a bang as No. 2 Kansas plays host to No. 3 Oklahoma in a Big 12 showdown at 9 p.m. on ESPN. And considering Michigan State lost last week, by the time the AP poll comes out Monday afternoon it should be No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is a perfect 12-0 after holding off Iowa State 87-83 on Saturday in the Sooners' Big 12 opener. Buddy Hield scored 22 points to pace Oklahoma, which won despite Iowa State shooting 51.5 percent from the floor.
Hield, a 6-foot-4 senior, is making a bid for national Player of the Year honors. He's averaging 24.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He's shooting 49.4 percent from three-point range and 90.5 percent from the free throw line.
Kansas is 12-1 and has taken 11 straight since falling to Michigan State 79-73 in the Champions Classic in Chicago back in mid-November. Veteran guard Wayne Selden leads Bill Self’s squad in scoring at 15.5 points per game. Perry Ellis is averaging 15.2 points and leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 per game.
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The much-heralded Cheick Diallo has played in eight games since finally being granted eligibility by the NCAA. Diallo is averaging 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds. He’s shooting 54.3 percent from the field.
Jeff Sagarin’s computer ratings have Kansas as the nation’s best team with Oklahoma followed at No. 2. (Sagarin has Kentucky at No. 17.) Sagarin’s numbers make Kansas as a four-point favorite.
Ken Pomeroy’s numbers place Kansas as the No. 1 team in the nation with Oklahoma at No. 4. Pomeroy has Kansas at No. 7 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. He has Oklahoma at No. 8 on defense and No. 9 on offense. Pomeroy's prediction is Kansas wins 82-77.
In the Kansas City Star, Rustin Dodd writes about the Kansas guards preparing to stop or at least contain Hield.
Here is the list of college basketball games on television for Monday:
Monday, Jan. 4
▪ 7:00 - West Virginia at TCU (ESPN2)
▪ 7:00 - North Carolina at Florida State (ESPN)
▪ 9:00 - Oklahoma at Kansas (ESPN)
▪ 9:00 - Virginia at Virginia Tech (ESPN2)
▪ 9:00 - Alcorn State at Texas Southern (ESPNU)
How Top 25 fared Sunday
- No. 8 Arizona beat Arizona State 94-82
- No. 18 Louisville beat Wake Forest 65-57
- No. 21 Utah lost to California 71-58
- No. 25 UCLA lost to Washington State 85-78