Setting the stage: KSU at OU

OU looks for win No. 20 of the season as it returns to Lloyd Noble Center for a crucial game vs. Kansas State.

With OU firmly entrenched in its Big 12 conference play, SoonersIllustrated.com is going to preview each of the Sooners conference games.

Kansas State (18-8, 8-5) at Oklahoma (19-7, 8-5)

When: 3 p.m. CST

Last game: OU has had a full week to relax and regroup a bit from the conference grind. The Sooners were able to go on that break on a positive note after a thrilling 77-74 Bedlam victory at Oklahoma State. KSU is coming off a 65-53 win against TCU and has won four of its last six games.

What to watch for: OU is known for taking so many 3-pointers that it will be interesting to see if there are any tweaks to be made at this point following a week off. But when you shoot as well as sophomore Buddy Hield does at times, maybe it's not best to tinker with something.

Guards Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard are coming off tough outings, and Woodard has hit a bit of a snag here lately as conference teams have adjusted to his penetration and making sure to not foul him.

And we're going to see if there's a sense of urgency with senior forward Cameron Clark. Known for his calm demeanor, OU is absolutely going to need him to step up and be a leader in these final five conference games and postseason tournaments.

Scouting the Wildcats: Just like all the other conference teams, KSU hit a bit of a rough patch in January but is starting to find its groove once again. Leading the charge remains freshman guard Marcus Foster, who is averaging 15 points per game and is shooting 38 percent from 3-point territory.

But the story of this year's club is defense. KSU leads the conference in field goal defense, allowing teams to shoot just over 40 percent from the field and less than 30 percent on 3-point field goal attempts.

In the post, it's all about junior forward Thomas Gipson. Coming off a double-double outing Wednesday, he leads the team at 6.5 rebounds per game and scores 11.8 per game.

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