This evening, the Oklahoma Sooners are set to host the Oklahoma St. Cowboys in the first round of Bedlam Basketball. In one of the most highly anticipated games this side of the Mississippi, a single factor may decide the outcome. At 8 PM CST, all eyes will be on the undersized bigs of Ryan Spangler for the Sooners and Kamari Murphy for the Cowboys. While both are similar in size at 6-8, it will be their differences at the forefront of the scene.
Kamari Murphy may very well be a talented player but lacks experience. Being thrust into a starting role after senior, Michael Cobbins sustained a torn achilles and was relegated to the sideline for the remainder of the season. With the ability to face up against anyone in the nation, Murphy often lacks a consistent aggressive mentality. The mindset manifests itself when going up against a more physical defender as the sophomore tends to back down. Sure, Murphy is coming along as evidenced by the game against West Virginia, but in the words of Marcus Smart, he needs to "prove it" more often." On Big Monday, Murphy faces possibly the most physical forward in the Big XII...Ryan Spangler.
After not being recruited by Jeff Capel, Ryan Spangler found acceptance in the eyes of Head Coach Lon Kruger. Although this talented sophomore lacks experience as well, he has proven his worth over and over. Behind multiple double-doubles, Spangler is a major cog of this machine on the hardwood. No matter where he is on the floor, Spangler has a knack for positioning himself well on the glass. There is potential for a career type night in rebounds being matched up against someone of equal size, a rarity in today's game.
The key for Murphy is to attack the rim while forcing Spangler to guard him in the face up game. When Spangler gets in foul trouble, the Sooners struggle and it could lead to the first win for the Cowboys in Norman since 2004. Of course, that is tougher said than done as Spangler is smart player. How it all ends, we will soon known. Until then...BOOMER!
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