Oklahoma struggled in its first season under Lon Kruger, finishing with a 15-16 record and only five Big 12 victories.
But that didn’t stop the Sooners from beating Kansas State twice last year. Oklahoma entered both its games against the Wildcats, who were ranked at the time, as underdogs, but came away with a season sweep. Oklahoma led from start to finish in Norman, winning 82-73, and outplayed K-State in Manhattan, winning 63-60.
Kruger put on a coaching clinic in the rematch, which led some to suggest he had Frank Martin’s number. During his time with UNLV and Oklahoma, Kruger went 3-1 against K-State, where he used to play and coach. The only time the Wildcats won, Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente were crazy hot on offense. Overall, Kruger is 4-2 against his former school.
Kruger still has connections at K-State, and donated enough money to the program’s new practice facility that he has a locker named after him inside it. He keeps up with all of the Wildcats’ games and hopes they win when he is not coaching against them. Along with OU assistant Steve Henson, another former K-State player, handling the scout for the game, Oklahoma knows everything there is to know about the Wildcats. That has given the Sooners an edge recently.
But Kruger is 0-1 against Bruce Weber. UNLV and Illinois played each other in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and the Illini jumped out to a big halftime lead before winning 73-62. So Kruger vs. Weber for the first time at Bramlage Coliseum should be an interesting game.