#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #2 Oklahoma Sooners Preview & Prediction

The college basketball season is starting to kick into gear with the conclusion of the NFL regular season, and there's not a better way to get the new year started than with the #2 Oklahoma Sooners travelling to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the #1 Kansas Jayhawks. This marks just the 40th regular season game in college basketball history between the top two ranked teams in the country, and the first since Nov. 12, 2013 when #2 Michigan State took on #1 Kentucky

Which team will emerge from this monumental clash with a firm grasp on the Big 12 race? Check out our preview & prediction below:

Projected Starting Lineups:

#2 Oklahoma Sooners - (12-0, 1-0 in Big 12)

G Jordan Woodard, Jr. - 13.9 ppg, 3.7 apg, 4.0 rpg
G Isaiah Cousins, Sr. - 13.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.8 apg
G Buddy Hield, Sr. - 24.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg
F Khadeem Lattin , So. - 5.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg
F Ryan Spangler, Sr. - 11.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg

#1 Kansas Jayhawks (12-1, 1-0 in Big 12)

G Frank Mason III, Jr. - 13.1 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.0 rpg
G Wayne Selden Jr., Jr. - 16.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg
G Devonte' Graham, So. - 10.5 ppg, 3.5 apg
F Perry Ellis, Sr. - 15.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg
F Hunter Mickelson, Sr. - 3.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg

Key To The Game:

How will Kansas defend Oklahoma on the perimeter? This game is between two very good, experienced, evenly-matched teams, but the biggest factor in determining this game will be the Sooners' outside shooting. Oklahoma ranks third in the country from three-point range (45.3 percent), a weapon they've used to be one of the three remaining undefeated teams in the country.

Both teams have offenses that rank in the top six in the country, but while Kansas has a more well-rounded offensive attack, the Sooners rely heavily on that outside shooting. If the Jayhawks can focus on and limit Oklahoma's outside shooting - which is much easier said than done - it'll take away the bulk of the Sooners' offense gameplan. That happens, and Kansas wins this game comfortably.

What They're Saying About The Oklahoma Sooners:

OU men's basketball: Sooners get a shot against Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse

Lon Kruger & Allen Fieldhouse: Two Kansas icons

What They're Saying About The Kansas Jayhawks:

Bob Lutz: No one-and-done, Wayne Selden took longer to find his game

As No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown looms, Kansas guards prepare for matchup with Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield

Prediction: Kansas wins 87-80

This game will be extremely exciting since both teams utilize up-tempo offenses, but I think Kansas will ride the momentum from playing at home to grab a small lead early that they will hold for the rest of the game. Oklahoma will threaten, but there's a reason why the Jayhawks have lost just nine home games since Bill Self took over in 2003 - expect them to pull away late.

Back to the Big 12 Newsfeed

Related Topics: Isaiah Cousins, Oklahoma Sooners Basketball, Buddy Hield, Big 12 Basketball, Devonte' Graham, Kansas Jayhawks Basketball, Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden Jr., NCAA Basketball, Ryan Spangler, Frank Mason III, College Basketball, Jordan Woodard, Hunter Mickelson, Khadeem Lattin