Oklahoma basketball: Big rivalries are nothing new to Sooners Romero Osby and Sam Grooms
One grew up in Mississippi, the other in North Carolina. Both states have their own versions of Bedlam.
“You don't like them and they don't like you. Their fans hate you and you hate them.” – Romero Osby on rivalries
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Those are the two main options in the state of Oklahoma. Love one, hate the other. It's that love and hate that makes a rivalry. It's rivalries that make some weekends in sports more intense than the others.
This is one of those weekends. Oklahoma takes on Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena for more than state basketball bragging rights and more than a possible season sweep, but for placement in the Big 12 Conference.
For OU senior Romero Osby, his allegiance is with the crimson and cream. As a boy in Meridian, Miss., Osby grew up understanding college rivalries.
When he was in elementary school, Osby used to run into his grandmother's classroom and look at all the bulldogs.
Osby's grandmother was a teacher, a graduate of Mississippi State. She instilled a love for the MSU Bulldogs and a hate for the Ole Miss Rebels into her grandson. Then, during his first couple years of college at Mississippi State, his hate for Ole Miss grew.
“I still don't like them now,” said Osby, who transferred to OU three seasons ago. “And I don't even play there anymore. You just take one side or the other.”
For fellow senior Sam Grooms — who spent a majority of his youth in Greensboro, N.C. — one side was Duke Blue Devils, the other was North Carolina Tar Heels.
Grooms chose Duke, but he watched both schools and the lone rebel, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
“It was fun,” Grooms said. “Every night, I got to get a good laugh in watching somebody go after each other. I've been a Duke fan since Jason Williams was there. I used to watch him play every Wednesday night for ACC Wednesday Night.”
Grooms loved to watch Chris Paul and Josh Howard, too. While he learned a lot about basketball from his big brother, Grooms learned how to be a certain type of player from Duke.