“It really taught me how to distinguish who plays hard and who doesn't,” Grooms said. “That was big for me looking at how people played and how hard they played. They took it so seriously.
“I looked at Chris Paul when he played at Wake Forest, how off the court he was so nice but on the court he was a different player. It made me appreciate basketball and get a love for it ... I understand I can be ‘Sam the smiling type' off the court, but in between the four lines I could be as mean as I needed to be.”
Now, Osby and Grooms have taken what they've learned from rivalry games over the years and applied it to their final one. It's a game that, if the Sooners win, they will forever have bragging rights of sweeping the Cowboys. If they lose — well, they don't even want to talk about that.
“When you've got a rivalry game, you really, really hate to lose,” Osby said. “You play hard, which you do every game, but there's just something more intense about a rivalry game. It's really what makes it so special.”
Rivalries can bring out an intensity that forces mistakes, though. As one of the team captains, Osby said part of his job is to make sure the Sooners remain calm and don't push things — especially being away from Lloyd Noble Center.
Grooms and Osby have enjoyed the Bedlam rivalry along the way. But they are ready to claim bragging rights one last time, especially in front of a sea of Cowboy orange.
“This is a big rivalry. You've got to keep your composure,” Osby said. “You've got to keep playing hard but keep it in between the lines and know it's all fun at the end of the day.”