Any time the Oklahoma Sooners step on the floor, an improved defense presents a major obstacle for their opponent. Isaiah Cousins and the crew are currently holding others to 37% shooting throughout the duration of the game. The defensive effort forces opposing offenses in an uncomfortable state. Need evidence? On January 28th, OU set a Big XII record for fewest points allowed in a conference game while allowing the Texas Tech Red Raiders to produce a mere 36 points. Now, looking to avoid a similar similar outcome, Tubby Smith must answer these three questions.
Can Texas Tech Match Oklahoma Point For Point?
Leading the team, Buddy Hield averages 17.2 points per game. While much of the defensive focus centers around the junior guard, there are a few others that need to be accounted for. Another junior, Isaiah Cousins, has the ability to take over a game at any given moment leaving TaShawn Thomas to dominate inside the paint. For Tech, Zach Smith continues to improve and could be the equalizer in the paint. However, a single player averaging over 10 points per game -- Devaugntah Williiams -- leaves plenty of room for scoring options.
Who Steps Up For Tech?
As mentioned above, Williams averages a team high 10.5 points per game. Behind him, Robert Turner adds another 8.7 points per game while no other player on the rosters hits above the 7 point mark. In their biggest win of the season over Iowa St., three different players collected at least 13 points. Against the Sooners, the Red Raiders will need to a similar outing. The only question that remains is: who will step up to lead this squad on Saturday?
Will Tech Pressure the Sooners?
Over the course of the season, the biggest weakness manifested itself in ball protection. Pressuring the Sooners in the back court has led to easy points as well as a plethora of turnovers. Initially exploited by West Virginia, other programs have keyed into the weak point. While none have been as successful, it gives a glimmer of hope. At home, will Tech follow the blueprint?