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Catching up with Lon Kruger pre Kansas

by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: January 25, 2013
Texas head coach Rick Barnes, left, and Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger talk before a men's college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and the University of Texas at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Texas head coach Rick Barnes, left, and Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger talk before a men's college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and the University of Texas at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma starts out back-to-back road contests at Kansas on Saturday before heading to Baylor on Wednesday.

The Sooners are approaching game No. 3 of a tough seven-game stretch which includes two games against Kansas and two against Kansas State.

Here’s what Lon Kruger had to say after the Sooners’ final afternoon practice before they make the trip to Lawrence, Kan.

Can you talk about the matchup against Kansas?

Kansas is terrific. They’ve got great size. They’ve got really good perimeter length. Defensively they guard you as well as anyone in the country. All the guys on the perimeter slide their feet very well and then they’ve got Withey back there behind to clean up if there is a mistake made. They’re outstanding. Offensively they share the ball. They’re a good inside and outside threat. That’s why they’re one of the top two or three teams in the country.

What do you like about the way the guys have practiced since the Kansas State game?

Our guys have practiced well for the last month especially. Coming out of the holiday, I thought their attitudes and focus was very good, energy level has been good all year. They’ve moved the ball better and we’ve moved ourselves better. I think we’ve got to keep improving in that area but guys have had that approach to practice all year long.

First time you faced an elite team it was Gonzaga when you kind of got kicked around. How better equipped do you think these guys are right now for that?

We’re much improved over that time. A lot of teams in the country are. That was, what, a couple months ago almost. I think we learned a lot from that ball game. Gonzaga is a big physical team. We got pushed around quite a bit. We came out of that game realizing we’ve got to be a lot more physical, lot more aggressive. I think we’ve made progress in that area.

Is there anything you can do to prepare the guys for the crowd noise and for the mystique of Phog Allen?

It’s a great crowd. There are few in the country that are a little better than everyone else’s and this belongs in that group of few but our guys have played in tough places and good environments. This is as good as any, but still is part of the experience and part of the growth. Our guys are looking forward to that.

What do you guys have to do well to get a win in Lawrence?

A lot of things. Take care of the ball, to start with. We didn’t do that at Kansas State. We gotta make shots. … They’re a big strong rebounding teams. … We’ve got to do a lot of things well.

Do you try to stay away from talking about the history with Kansas and that they haven’t won since 1993?

We don’t talk too much about that and what happened here 20 years ago doesn’t effect this group too much. Kansas has been really good for a long time.

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by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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