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Across the Court: Q&A with Crimson & Cream Machine

We preview the upcoming game on the hardwood with our SBNation sister-site Crimson & Cream Machine

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
After such a disheartening loss Saturday, the Jayhawks have an extremely quick turnaround before their game tonight.  And the Sooners are coming off a blowout of their own, so it's not like we can expect an easy win tonight.  To help prepare us for the game, I reached out to Rich DeCray from Crimson & Cream Machine, the SBNation site covering the Oklahoma Sooners.  He was kind enough to answer some questions for us.


RCT: Oklahoma has been a bit all over the place this year so far,  losing at Creighton and to a Washington team that just fell apart afterwards, blowing out Texas on the last edition of Big Monday, getting blown out last week at West Virginia and coming back to absolutely destroy Oklahoma State on Saturday.  Is this just a symptom of life in the Big 12, or are there some serious concerns about consistency with this team?

C&CM: Make no mistake, WVU's defense is legit. Can we scratch that loss off the list, please? In hindsight, everyone has an off night and OU lost their will to win after falling behind by a large deficit. As far as I'm concerned, I don't see a consistency issue. I believe the level of competition in the conference remains unrivaled across the nation. Day in and day out, programs bring their A-game and one slip adds a mark to the loss column. You must have a short memory and move on to the next game in this league.




RCT: I think everyone who follows the Big 12 has heard of Buddy Hield, not only because he's pretty damn good at basketball, but also because that's just an awesome first name. What other names on the Sooner squad should we be familiar with?

C&CM: There are easily two other names to familiarize yourself with. The first is Isaiah Cousins who could easily be one of, if not the, most underrated players in the conference. With the ability to pick up the slack in the back court, Cousins averages 12.5 points per game but has an uncanny knack for finding rebounds. The junior has easily evolved into a potential draft pick while working under the direction of Lon Kruger.

Secondly, TaShawn Thomas presents himself as a scoring option underneath the basket, something Oklahoma has lacked since Romero Osby graduated. Transferring in from Houston, it took a while for Thomas to adapt but the forward has quickly become a vital piece to the offense. Possessing the ability to create for himself as well as pass with great vision, the senior rounds out the trio of players averaging double digits in scoring for OU.




RCT: After the unfortunate history of recent head coaches Kelvin Sampson and Jeff Capel, landing Lon Kruger was generally seen as a really good get for the Sooners program.  How exciting was it to land him, and what have been the most noticeable differences between his program and the ones of the coaches who came before?

C&CM: Kruger may not have been the homerun hire some had hoped for but he certainly was the right hire. The man continues to hold a reputation of resurrecting fallen programs simply adding Oklahoma to the list. As far as most noticeable changes, the most obvious of the bunch clearly rests on hiring a strength and conditioning coach (Capel relied on the Griffin brothers to carry that load). It has paid dividends in achieving a the desired fast pace style of play on both sides of the court.



RCT:  Turning to the Big Monday matchup coming up, it doesn't seem like Oklahoma will be intimidated coming into Allen Fieldhouse after they completely destroyed Texas two weeks ago. Having said that, what do you see as the most troubling matchup for the Sooners coming into the game?  The best spot for the Sooners to attack?

C&CM: The Phog may be the toughest place to play in the nation. However, the Sooners have struggled with pressure in the back court or even with the half court trap time and time again. Any team with the athletes to continuously pressure the ball handler will come up with turnovers and potentially easy points.

If I'm Kruger, I'd likely give Hield and Cousins along with Booker the green light to shoot from anywhere on the floor. Kansas gives up 33.7% shooting from behind the arc and the Sooners are no strangers to firing up a shot from the perimeter.



RCT:  Finally, what is your prediction for the game?  Do the Sooners build off their win Saturday and continue the Kansas funk?  Or does the Phog claim it's next victim as the Jayhawks try to avoid slipping behind Iowa State and Kansas State in the loss column?

C&CM:. I feel as though Kansas runs away with the game in the second half to produce a 78-65 win.



RCT: BONUS - Sonic the Hedgehog or Link from The Legend of Zelda? Explain using any criteria you choose.

C&CM: Link all the way...just as Nintendo usurped Sega, I would expect Link to demolish Sonic, the ring collecting hedgehog.


So Link has officially clinched it with a 5-0 start.  The only question left to answer is if his win will be unanimous.

A special thanks to Rich for taking some time to chat about the game tonight, especially on such a short turnaround.  Don't forget to check out the questions I answered for him as well.