Big Problem

Stillwater,Ok - Oklahoma big man Blake Griffin will create matchup problems for most teams. Oklahoma State, though, seems particularly vulnerable.

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Griffin, who has been dominant in the paint for the sixth-ranked Sooners, looks to take advantage of the undersized Cowboys as the Big 12 rivals renew the "Bedlam Series" on Monday night.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook have made the Oklahoma -3 point spread favorites for Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma St. Current College Basketball Public Betting Information shows that 53% of more than 217 bets for this game have been placed on the Oklahoma -3.

Griffin, a preseason All-American, is averaging 22.2 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 62.2 percent. He leads Division I with 16 double-doubles, and has already broken a Big 12 record with nine games of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a single season.

Oklahoma (19-1, 5-0) got 20 points and 17 rebounds from Griffin in a 95-76 win over Baylor on Saturday.

The Sooners, though, received a scare in the final minute of the first half, when Griffin collided with Baylor guard Curtis Jerrells while driving to the basket. Griffin remained on the ground for a few moments, clutching his left ankle, then limped off the court only to return for the final seconds of the half.

Griffin said he rolled his ankle while stepping on someone's foot but would be fine.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound sophomore dominates down low, and the Cowboys (13-5, 2-2) don't seem to have anybody who can stop him. After 6-foot-11 Ibrahima Thomas, who averaged 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, transferred to Cincinnati seven games into the season, first-year coach Travis Ford has usually started three and sometimes four guards, and the tallest member in his rotation is 6-8 forward Malcoln Kirkland.

Though Kirkland has started 10 straight games, the sophomore has played a combined 18 minutes in his last three contests. The Cowboys will likely need more minutes in this game from Kirkland, who averages 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds.

Scott Warner, who is 6-11, has logged just five minutes in four games and 6-8 forward Greg Hughes made his lone appearance in a blowout on Jan. 3.

The Cowboys are averaging 85.4 points, but their lack of height may also hurt them on offense. Oklahoma is holding opponents to 64.8 points per contest on 37.6 percent shooting, and limited high-scoring Baylor - entering the game averaging 83.1 points on 49.5 percent shooting - to 34.6 percent.

"When we put in the effort, we talk and hustle on defense, that is what we can do," said Sooners forward Taylor Griffin, who had 18 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

Freshman guard Willie Warren added 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting for Oklahoma, and is second on the team in scoring at 15.1 per game.

"One of the things I talked to Willie about ... is that I didn't recruit you to a be a role player," Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. "I need you to attack and I need you to do that with a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor."

The Cowboys, who are shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range, have four players averaging at least 13.6 points. James Anderson tops Oklahoma State with 17.9 points per game, shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from long range. His high-flying tip-in with 1:58 left in overtime put the Cowboys up for good as they beat Nebraska 76-74 on Saturday.

Oklahoma State trailed 71-70 when Keiton Page put up a 3-pointer that bounced off the rim. Anderson jumped over two Nebraska players, reached out and knocked the ball in, giving Oklahoma State a one-point lead.

Anderson finished with 18 points and is averaging 20.5 in his last eight games.

Anderson, however, was held to four points on 1-for-9 shooting in a 68-56 home loss to the Sooners on March 5.

Oklahoma, which hasn't won consecutive games in Stillwater since 1999 and 2000, leads the series 124-88.

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Posted: 1/26/09 12:45AM ET

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