USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma certainly has their work cut out for them against Oklahoma St. It will be strength against strength as the Cowboys have added to their arsenal of offensive players. However, the Sooners pride themselves on defense. Something must give.
Lon Kruger has his Oklahoma Sooners on the right track while Travis Ford and his Oklahoma St. Cowboys will present a formidable roadblock. A quick look at history reveals that Ford and his squad have had the more talented team over the past four season yet have not escaped Norman with a win. On the flip side of the coin, in the past four years, Oklahoma has gone into Gallagher-Iba and stolen a win. Lloyd Noble Center is not the place that it once was but this is Bedlam, anything is possible...right?
Once again, it would appear that Oklahoma St. will come into this matchup with the more talented roster headlined by freshman Marcus Smart, a highly touted recruit. Up to this point, Smart has lived up to the hype of his recruiting process to the tune of 14.3 points per game landing him as the second leading scorer for the Cowboys. However, it is what he does elsewhere that makes him an invaluable center piece for this squad. Smart leads the team with 4.8 assists and a team second best 5.7 rebounds per contest as a freshman.
The leading scorer for this Cowboys team remains junior Markel Brown who barely edges out Smart with 14.5 points per game on 44.4% shooting. These two in tandem will test any defense in the Big 12 conference with their ability to score from anywhere on the floor. Will an Oklahoma team who prides themselves on defense be able to contain these players?
One issue that will plague the Sooners in this game as well as through a majority of the remaining schedule is height. Philip Jurick is a 6-11 center that will be matched up against forward 6-8 Romero Osby for a good portion of the night. Jurick is a big reason (no pun intended) why OSU is pulling down 36.7 rebounds as a team while he adds 7.1 of his own night in and night out.
Overall, the Cowboys are a solid offensive team that has been able to put on great defensive performances while distancing themselves from the opposition. While history has been against Oklahoma St. in Norman recently, it does not mean they cannot or will not come away with a win in this game. We are still learning exactly who this Sooners team is and today will mark an all important step forward or set back in achieving the ultimate goal of the reaching the post-season.