The Red Raiders stumble into the contest losers of two straight with a record of 8-6 (1-2 Big 12). Conversely, OU (11-3, 2-0 Big 12) would capture its fifth consecutive win with a victory.
While signs point to Tech presenting a potentially easy home win for the Sooners, the Red Raiders do catch Oklahoma at a good time. Scheduling wise, Tech is sandwiched in between the Sooners’ win over Oklahoma State and Saturday’s date at No. 16 Kansas State.
“There’s always that human nature that you’re battling, but that’s the nature of sport. You’re going to have those occasions,” said head coach Lon Kruger of Tech being a potential “trap” game. “I haven’t heard any discussion or talk about anything other than Tech, and I wouldn’t expect there to be.”
Junior forward Amath M’Baye said it most eloquently.
“A trap game is a trap if you don’t know it’s there. If it’s a surprise, it’s going to trick you,” M’Baye said. “It’s a trap game. We know that. It’s our job to have the right mindset.”
With a win, OU would move to 3-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2008-2009 season—the last year the program made it into the NCAA tournament before falling in the Elite Eight to North Carolina in Blake Griffin’s final game.
“It would be really big,” said senior forward Romero Osby about the prospects of starting off 3-0 in the Big 12 with a win over Tech. “You always want to be able to start off conference good with some momentum rolling down, because you know it’s going to be tough games.”
Perhaps most important for the Sooners is avoiding a slip-up performance to Tech based on ratings percentage index (RPI) ramifications. According to realtimerpi.com, OU has the second-best RPI of Big 12 teams behind only Kansas.
The Sooners check in at No. 10 in the RPI, while the Red Raiders are currently ranked No. 244. OU’s RPI figures to drop either way, but a loss against Tech could prove catastrophic down the road for the Sooners’ NCAA tournament hopes.