It was bound to happen sooner or later and it’s just as well that it happened on Saturday night. Oklahoma, like everyone else in college basketball, wasn’t going to go through the season with just one blemish on their record. In the Texas preview post I said two things that turned out to be prophetic. First, I said that when A.J. Abrams is on he’s one of the best scorers in the country. Then I said that an average team can do great things under the right circumstances.
Texas was finally able to do what no other team in the on the schedule has been able to accomplish to this point of the season. An inadvertent hand to the nose left Griffin on the bench for most of the game with a concussion thus eliminating Oklahoma’s big man as a non-factor in the game. With Griffin on the bench the Sooners looked to Willie Warren for an offensive spark and the freshman didn’t disappoint. After falling behind 41-29 early in the second half it appeared that the Sooners would going to be routed. However, Oklahoma went on a 14-0 run to jump back into the game and even built a lead.
Blake Griffin on the bench provided just the right atmosphere for an average Texas team to pull off a great upset. AJ Abrams heated up and the without a dominating presence underneath the basket the Sooners had to settle for a shootout instead. As I said earlier when Abrams is feeling it he’s one of the top scorers in the nation and over the last five minutes of the game he shot dagger after dagger to lead the Longhorns to their season saving 73-68 victory.
Fortunately for Oklahoma the damage from this loss was very minimal should Blake Griffin be able to play Monday night against Kansas. That is why his health becomes the bigger story. All of Oklahoma’s hopes are still alive going into Monday night. The Sooners can still jump back into the driver’s seat with a win over the Jayhawks but they are going to need Blake to do it. Without him on the inside OU lost the rebounding battle and were outscored 17-9 in second chance points. Oklahoma was also outscored 42-30 in the paint and you just won’t convince me that those numbers would be the same with Blake Griffin in there.
Kansas is bringing a much better team to Norman on Monday night and the Big 12 could be settled on Big Monday even though Oklahoma’s loss to Texas makes Missouri a player once again. This game will be huge and the news of Griffin’s status will be looming even larger.