Oklahoma guard Je'lon Hornbeak is going to play so hard these last six games, he might pass out.
Maybe it sounds like a bit of an exaggeration from the freshman, but Hornbeak is serious about how hard he expects to play throughout the easiest part of Oklahoma's schedule. As of Tuesday, the Sooners have the easiest remaining schedule in the Big 12 when looking at their upcoming opponents' winning percentage in conference play. Their opponents for the remaining six games — Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas, Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU — carry a combined 26-47 (. 356) record in league play.
Only two of those teams — Baylor and Iowa State — carry a league record better than .500, and the Sooners face both of them at home. OU has beaten five of the six, with Iowa State the exception. That doesn't matter to Hornbeak and his teammates though.
“We take it one game at a time, whether we're playing against Indiana or Emporia State,” Hornbeak said. “It doesn't matter who we're playing.”
Who they win against won't matter, but who they lose to could really hurt the Sooners' chances at an NCAA Tournament berth. Here are six things the Sooners said they need to go 6-0 in their last six regular-season games, beginning Wednesday night at Texas Tech.
EXPECT TO WIN
The first thing out of Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger's mouth when asked what is needed to go 6-0 was to “win the first one.” Senior forward Romero Osby agreed that the mantra of “taking it one game at a time” is important, but so are expectations.
“We can't focus on the fact that if we do lose, we're down in the dumps,” Osby said. “We can't even expect to lose. We have to expect to win. It's still tough games. It's still Big 12 games.”
DEFEND HOME COURT
This is the second mantra that the Sooners have tried to stay true to all season. The Sooners are 9-2 in Norman this year. Their only conference loss at Lloyd Noble Center was to then-No. 18 Kansas State. The Sooners already defeated Baylor at home, so Hornbeak said they are aware of the revenge factor.
“Just like we lost to Iowa State the first time and we're waiting to get a crack at them,” Hornbeak said. “The teams that we beat early, they're waiting to get a crack at us.”