The Oklahoma Basketball program is in a state of resurrection. Under the direction of Lon Kruger, many fans have hopes that the return to greatness will come sooner rather than later. With conference realignment, the Big XII is loading up on at least one more solid basketball program in the West Virginia Mountaineers while losing a decent Missouri Tigers program. The Kansas St. Wildcats have been sent into a state of flux with the departure of Frank Martin but it does not mean the road in the Big XII is any easier. Road wins come few and far between especially for the bottom half of the conference. With a year under his belt, Kruger is set on reloading in the midst of post season havoc as coaching rumors churn.News broke earlier that this Sooners team will be suffering another loss due to transfer. After the transfer that crippled this team in Calvin Newell, OU is losing back-up point guard Carl Blair. While Blair lacked playing time he had a few solid outings and provided a break for newcomer Sam Grooms. The search for bodies has been full fledged, but the want is still there as production suffered greatly.
Not only is Kruger losing Blair, he is also losing a trio of seniors in Barry Honore, T.J. Franklin, and C.J. Washington. Combine that with the fact that Casey Arent was nonexistent all season long, and there is literally a single forward outside of Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby with experience. That single player is one many have questioned all season long in Tyler Neal.
Big men are a key factor in winning games in the Big XII. The physical style of the conference coupled with the shot changing ability of the bigs becomes crucial down the stretch. Not only are bigs important in conference play, they are vital in tournament play. How will smaller teams matchup with teams like the Florida St. Seminoles who boast the most lengthy team in the nation in any given season. Another fact to consider is how well Missouri played all season up till the NCAA's. As the story plays out, the Tigers were bounced in the first round by a No. 15 seed. Thanks Norfolk St. Spartans (who?) for giving the Big XII Tournament champs a proper farewell!
It cannot be said enough that depth held this team back in 2011-12. Now Amath M'Baye is eligible along with a few incoming recruits. How will they pan out and will it be the bodies along with the scoring options we hope they will be? Only time will tell.