Sooner Men's Loss Reveals Some Positives


This Oklahoma team is not a very deep team when it comes to the bench and that was evident when looking back on the OK-State game this past weekend as well as most of the other games thus far. Teams have tried all season to get OU in quick foul trouble to make Capel dip into his reserves with some teams able to have done so far easier than others. Capel had played all of his starters an average of 35+ minutes a game coming into Saturday. In fact Oklahoma's starting five all rank in the top 15 in minutes played per game in the conference. All it takes is for opposing players to recognize this with direction from their coach and Oklahoma becomes quite an easy team to frustrate and eventually beat. With Oklahoma quickly finding itself in foul trouble early, the bench stepped in, showed some promise, and was essentially what kept OU in the game in Stillwater.

OU is a team that relies on it's starting line-up more than any other team in the Big XII and possibly in the nation. During the 4 game winning streak OU's starting five scored 94% of the points and part of this is due to Capel playing a six man rotation (CJ Washington is the only other player getting regular minutes). This strategy is nothing new to OU and Capel as this is a similar situation to the Blake Griffin years and specifically the year they made it to the Elite 8. With early and continuing foul trouble, Capel was forced to empty the bench. The Cowboys shot a total 44 FT (25 in the first half) while making 36 of them and OU shot a mere 26 total FT for the entire game. Capel had every right to be mad at the officiating in such a lopsided foul called game. This game was very winnable and should have been won by the Sooners assuming the number of fouls called was virtually around the same number.

Oklahoma Sooners
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Andrew Fitzgerald, F 39 7-12 0-0 4-5 2 5 2 1 1 2 3 18
Cade Davis, G 32 6-15 2-7 4-4 0 1 2 2 1 0 4 18
Steven Pledger, G 23 2-8 1-6 4-4 0 1 1 0 1 2 3 9
Carl Blair, G 25 2-9 0-2 9-9 0 2 0 1 0 6 2 13
Cameron Clark, G-F 29 0-3 0-0 0-0 1 5 1 2 0 0 3 0
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Barry Honore', F 13 3-3 0-0 0-0 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 6
Tyler Neal, F 12 2-3 0-0 2-2 0 4 0 0 0 0 5 6
Calvin Newell Jr, NA 15 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 1 0 0 1 2 2
C.J. Washington, F 12 1-1 0-0 1-1 2 3 0 1 1 0 3 3
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
24-55 3-15 24-26 8 26 7 7 4 11 26 75
43.6% 20.0% 92.3%

The bench players received a total of 52 of the total 200 minutes available to play. This means that they contributed to a 4th of the game and a lot of those minutes came in the first half due to players picking up 2 fouls early. But even more so is the fact that the bench put up a total of 17 points in limited minutes on 7-8 FG and 3-4 FT. Without these numbers OU is buried in an insurmountable deficit. While the bench still has a long way to go in the maturation and game play department, they are learning. But, if the bench can continue to do what they did this weekend we may see Capel going to his bench a little more often to give the starters more breaks in the action leading to less foul trouble and less wear and tear on the starters throughout the game, preserving energy.

Oklahoma's next game is against #3 Texas which is another team that seems to have no problem getting OU in foul trouble quickly through the play of Dogus Balbay and his hustle. Hopefully this time around we do not see the game won or lost on a lopsided amount of fouls.

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