Feb 25, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Steven Pledger (2) drives to the basket during the second half against the Baylor Bears at the Ferrell Center. Baylor won 70-60. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
The Oklahoma Sooners will be traveling to Austin, TX in their final regular season road game to take on the Texas Longhorns. While the Sooners have shown the willingness to fight to the end, it simply hasn't been enough all season long.
In round one, OU took a small lead into the half over rival Texas. Midway through the second half, the Longhorns rattle off a 19-5 run which the Sooners were never able to recover from. The trend continued that night. However, things have settled down just a bit as secondary scorers have emerged late.
The first thing to note is the Longhorns are coming off a skid of sorts losing two before an overtime win against the Texas Tech Red Raiders four days ago. The sting is still with them as they have become more vulnerable as of late. Their past several games have magnified the inconsistency this young Longhorn squad plays with. What challenges and hurdles will today's game provide if UT fails to string together a run and in the process shooting Oklahoma in the Achilles' Heel.
For Oklahoma there are two things that have to happen. The first is that when a run comes, it cannot be the focus of this team. In the past, the run happens and the team falls apart. They will need to maintain focus and continue to execute the game plan in order to be successful tonight.
The second is that the supporting cast will need to play big while limiting J' Covan Brown's touches. He is the leader of this team and will shoot the ball more than anyone else. Force the ball into other players' hands and make them beat you, that is the mindset the Sooners must carry. But, players like Tyler Neal and Cameron Clark will need to put up some points as well. The pressure has remained on the big three to perform well game in and game out. The wear and tear of the season coupled with teams focusing on those players has hindered what Oklahoma is capable of doing.
If there were anything else to add, Steven Pledger hopefully watched as the Oklahoma St. Cowboys took Texas to school. Keeton page was instrumental as he poured in 40. Pledger has the same capability in terms of scoring but also has a size advantage. No, OU will not run 4-5 screens for him just to get him open, but he can go off. Fingers crossed, that Pledger settles into a rhythm and continues to find himself at the charity stripe time and time again.