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Oklahoma/Liberty Basketball Preview

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LIBERTY PROJECTED STARTERS (Exhibition Averages)
F  11  Damien Hubbard (6-6, 210, Sr., 4.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
F  21  Alex McLean (6-8, 235, Jr., 13.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
F  33  Rell Porter (6-7, 195, Jr., 5.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
G  5   Anthony Smith (6-4, 185, So., 14.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
G  22  Larry Blair (6-0, 185, Sr., 28.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS (2006-07 Averages)
F  32  Taylor Griffin (6-7, 232, So., 8.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
C  30  Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 14.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
G  5   Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 15.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
G  15  David Godbold (6-5, 215, Jr., 13.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
G  20  Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 18.0 ppg, 9.0 apg)

We got more than we expected in Oklahoma's season debut against Norfolk State with a 63 point Sooner victory. Now, the Sooners face their final tune-up before going to Hawaii and their last game without Michael Neal who was facing a two game NCAA suspension.

The good news for Liberty is that they return five starters from last season' squad but the bad news is that the Flames finished last season with a 7-23 record.

Flames guard Larry Blair was the only Liberty player to average double digit figures in scoring last season with 22.6 points a game. He also led the team in assists (2.7 a game), steals (2.0), 3-pointers (2.1), 3-point percentage (.356), free throws (4.9) and free throw percentage (.799).  Basically a one man team Blair averaged 28.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals in Liberty's two exhibition games. Anthony Smith plays the other guard spot. He started 20 of Libety's 30 games last season averaging 9.2 points a game and making 28 treys. Forward Damien Hubbard returns after contributing 8.7 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game.  Junior forward Rell Porter, who along with Hubbard and Blair started all 30 games last season, averaged 5.1 points and 5.5 boards.  Junior center Russell Monroe started 17 games last year and averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds.

Liberty is not as good a team as the Norfolk State team that OU dismantled Friday night. I think the Sooners athleticism will allow them to cruise again as long as they are making free throws, protecting the ball and crashing the boards. I really don't think we are going to get a good idea about this Oklahoma team until they face Memphis in Hawaii on Monday.

The Machine Predicts: 104-65 Oklahoma