This has been a season of ups and downs for the Sooners. The stands have remained empty although this squad outlived expectations for a good portion of the season. Oklahoma rattled off ten wins and two losses in the first twelve games. Expectations and confidence soared as OU began to receive votes not even a full season removed from the Jeff Capel era.
Then the other side of the coin began to reveal itself. Conference play began with a blowout loss to a very tough Missouri Tigers team. While no one gave Oklahoma a shot at beating the Tigers, not many thought it would result in a 38 point loss. The Sooners got their baptism by fire that night as it lead to a three game losing streak. The first conference win came against a ranked opponent at home in the then #18 Kansas St. Wildcats. Expectations and confidence once again soared high and the season was saved.
Now Oklahoma is on a six game slide with four consecutive losses while at home. Rock bottom hit as the Sooners lost to a weak Texas Tech Red Raiders team. This was the loss that set up the season the be a wash.
However, there has been a trend, a flaw if you will, that can be traced. Time and time it has happened again and again but the area continues to have loose reigns. If the Sooners want to make a late put for the post-season it starts with this.
Oklahoma has struggled with trying to do too much as individuals. Basketball is a game of streaks, no questions asked about it. Teams learn to weather the storm and find a way to put a streak of their own together in an attempt to even the tides. When the Sooners face an opponent who has just went on a streak, they fail to stick together as a team. From that point on, it shifts to a individual attitude. The point of the game where this has been most evident is at the beginning of the second half. Teams have put together great runs right out of the half. This causes Sooner players to get out of their rhythm and begin to force up a shot or force an interior pass that isn't there or on the opposite end gamble defensively. When the run comes, OU falls apart leading to easy buckets for the opposition.
The one exception to this flaw was the second game against Missouri. This was a game in which fans saw OU play together as a team from the tip to the final buzzer. The team mentality kept the Sooners within striking distance and allowed them to withstand the surges Missouri had.
The Sooners must learn from their past mistakes. Attitudes must shift to a "we will never let that happen again" type attitude. It must be everyone as not one player can do it alone. This squad has the opportunity to best what last year's team was capable of but it all starts here. We will see which mentality continues to dominate this team on Wednesday as Bedlam comes to town.