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Kansas Vs. Oklahoma: Previewing The Sooners

Heading to Norman for a game against the hapless Sooners.  Turns out it's not easy to rebuild after Blake Griffin.  Especially when you are relying on a few headcases starting with Willie Warren.  The good news is things might have leveled off.  Sometimes when you're falling you just wait to hit bottom and somewhere between last year and this year likely represented that for Oklahoma.

Historically Oklahoma doesn't stay down forever and the Big 12 could certainly use a good Oklahoma program as it's provided some great games in the past.  But that's going to have to wait at least another year as #2 Kansas heads into Norman the heavy favorite for a matchup against the Boomer Sooners.


AP Poll
SOS Projected

The Players

The Sooners have four players that average over 30 minutes per contest and they are led from a statistical standpoint by a surging sophomore in 6'8" Andrew Fitzgerald underneath. Fitzgerald leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game and is tied for the team lead in rebounds with 5.2 per game.

In terms of the overall leader for Oklahoma, that distinction goes to senior Cade Davis.  Davis is a 6'5" wing player that also drops down to the four spot at times for Oklahoma.  Like Fitzgerald, Davis averages 5.2 boards and 13 points per contest.  Davis rarely leaves the court as he is Jeff Capel's go to player and the leader for Sooners.  On the season, Davis averages 35 minutes per contest.  Davis also leads the Sooners in three point field goals made with 56.

Sophomore guard Steven Pledger is another threat from beyond the arc for the Sooners and the 6'4" guard has just two less than Davis.  Pledger is the third player averaging over 30 minutes per game and the third leading scorer for Oklahoma averaging 11.4 points per game.

True freshman wing forward Cameron Clark is another versatile player for Jeff Capel and a bright spot for the future of Sooner basketball.  The 6'6" Texas native averages just shy of 10 points per game while also snagging 4.6 rebounds per contest. 

Rounding out the starters for Jeff Capel is 6'2" sophomore point guard Carl Blair.  Blair is a transfer into the Sooner program and currently leads the team with 4.4 assists per game while adding 7.6 in the scoring column.

The primary reserves for the Sooners include 6'9" junior forward Nick Thompson, 6'7" freshman forward Tyler Neal, freshman guard Calvin Newell and 6'7" junior forward CJ Washington.

The Sooners are young and at this point they don't go particularly deep.  Right now Capel is comfortable with his starting five and the expectation is that they'll see most of the minutes.  The good news is that the team is clearly young, they have some talent that can develop, and in all reality they've exceeded expectations this year.That certainly has to give Sooner fans something to look forward to in the future.



Sooner Trends

The Sooners are actually in the middle of their longest losing streak of the season.  Early in the year the Sooners lost five in a row but with Wednesday's loss to the Aggies the Sooners have surpassed that and moved to six with seven in sight.  All this of course follows a surprising four game winning streak which included wins over Colorado and the Sooners last win against Baylor almost a month ago. 

So what's wrong with the Sooners?  Well besides being statistically a bad team ranked behind such programs as Long Island, Murray State and Idaho, the Sooners have ZERO depth.  That may be a bit harsh.  They have players that can play, but they manage the rotation as if they were Iowa State and had four players sitting due to transfer. 

Statistically the Sooners are balanced, but that just means they are bad on offense and defense.  They tend to struggle most with the interior defense which is an area that Kansas should be able to exploit.  Not only do they allow a high percentage from the field on the inside, they also tend to send opponents to the line quite frequently.They also struggle in terms of rebounding, especially in terms of finding anything on the offensive glass.

All in all it's a mediocre to poor team in almost every statistical category for coach Capel and when that happens you end up 12-15 pretty easily. No where to go but up at this point, but that might have to wait until after Saturday's matchup against Kansas.


Offensive Averages:

255th / 12th
184th / 10th
318th / 12th
FG Pct
102nd / 7th

Defensive Averages:

176th / 12th
101st / 10th
55th / 12th
FG Pct
261st / 7th


Prediction Time

One of the deepest teams in the league against a team with four players averaging close to 35 minutes per contest?  That sounds like a recipe for a tired group of Sooners.  The one thing they have going for them in Oklahoma is that the game is IN Oklahoma but Kansas has a substantial talent and depth advantage in this one. 

To make a comparison, the Sooners are a slightly better, slightly deeper Iowa State.  Either way Kansas should handle business and come away with a win.  How convincing that win is depends on how long the Jayhawks let the Sooners hang around.  The Jayhawk opponent is one with a lot of youth, get up early and it won't be easy for them to battle back.  Let them hang around and it's easy for a team like that to ignore the Kansas on the front of the jersey.

Kansas KU 83.8 52.1 67.1 39.2 38.5 11.4 27.1 18.6 13.5 8.6 4.5 17.6
Oklahoma OU 66.0 45.2 72.6 34.3 31.0 8.9 22.1 12.7 13.9 5.6 2.7 17.9
Kansas KU Opponents 64.8 39.5 71.5 29.6 31.1 10.7 20.4 11.1 15.1 6.0 2.8 19.6
Oklahoma OU Opponents 67.8 44.9 72.1 36.2 32.1 9.9 22.2 11.9 13.2 6.8 2.6 17.2



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