clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: Our Preseason Predictions

Will the Sooners make it back to the Big Dance this year? The road will be tough.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-VCU vs Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ravis

Regular season record: 19-8

Postseason: 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, losing in the round of 32

OU’s Leading Scorer: Jordan Woodard

OU’s Leading Rebounder: Kadeem Lattin

Big 12 POY: Josh Jackson, Kansas

Conference standings and records:

  1. Kansas (16-2)
  2. Texas (13-5)
  3. West Virginia (12-6)
  4. Iowa State (12-6)
  5. Baylor (11-7)
  6. Oklahoma (11-7)
  7. Oklahoma State (6-12)
  8. Texas Tech (4-14)
  9. Kansas State (3-15)
  10. TCU (2-16)

Oklahoma will struggle a bit this season--especially relative to the success they had last season--but Lon Kruger will make sure his squad is competitive. That being said: the Big 12 is a blood bath, and it'd have an argument for the best conference in the nation if not for the mighty ACC. Better than average teams (like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) could end up under-seeded in the NCAA tournament due to their strength of schedule.

Being an NBA guy, I'm really excited to see Josh Jackson of Kansas play. A lot of NBA teams are sore at the point guard position, so he may not end up the first pick in the draft, but it's hard to imagine him not being the first overall pick if he shows out like I expect him to. He can play just about every position on the floor (outside of center), so NBA scouts will be drooling seeing him against top-flight talent. If he plays well against Indiana, Duke, and Kentucky, he'll lock up that spot.

Kartik Rajendran

Regular Season Record: 20-9

Postseason: 7th seed in NCAA Tournament, losing in Round of 64

OU’s Leading Scorer: Jordan Woodard

OU’s Leading Rebounder: Khadeem Lattin

Big 12 POY: Josh Jackson, Kansas

Conference standings and records:

  1. Kansas (16-2)
  2. Texas (13-5)
  3. Iowa State (13-5)
  4. Baylor (12-6)
  5. West Virginia (12-6)
  6. Oklahoma (11-7)
  7. Oklahoma State (7-11)
  8. Texas Tech (3-15)
  9. Kansas State (3-15)
  10. TCU (2-16)

Replacing a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year and National Player of the Year would be tough for any team with the exception of One-and-Done U’s, but that’s exactly what this rebuilding Sooner squad faces this season. Along with the legendary Buddy Hield, Lon Kruger must also replace the leadership and production of Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler from last season’s Final Four team but despite losing so much talent and experience, the 2016-17 Sooners will be a scrappy, overachieving team that will earn another NCAA Tournament bid under the great Obi Lon Kenobi’s guidance.

The Big 12 will be highly competitive once again, but last season’s second-leading scorer and combo guard Jordan Woodard returns, along with defensive specialist Khadeem Lattin –- who along with redshirt sophomore Jamuni McNeace -- will anchor an athletic, energetic frontcourt. Fellow returnees Dante Buford and Christian James will need to step up their scoring to support Woodard, but Kruger’s signature defensive philosophy will likely define this squad all season. Recruiting has consistently picked up in recent years, and I look to Edmond product Kristian Doolittle contributing early through a tough but rewarding non-conference schedule that includes matchups against Wisconsin, Memphis, Auburn, Wichita State and a spot in the Tire Pros Invitational. The Big 12 POY race will likely come down to Kansas’ freshman phenom Josh Jackson, Iowa State point guard Monte Morris and possibly even Jackson’s senior teammate Frank Mason III, but ultimately the highly touted blue chipper should take home the honors before being drafted in the top 3 in next June’s NBA draft. Jordan Woodard and Khadeem Lattin will lead the Sooners in scoring and rebounding respectively.

Graham Dudley

Regular Season Record: (18-12, 10-8 Big 12)

Postseason: NCAA Tournament 8 seed, Lose in round of 32 (second round).

OU’s Leading Scorer: Christian James

OU’s Leading Rebounder: Khadeem Lattin

Big 12 POY: Monte Morris, Iowa State

Conference standings and records:

  1. Kansas (15-3)
  2. West Virginia (12-6)
  3. Iowa State (12-6)
  4. Texas (11-7)
  5. Oklahoma (10-8)
  6. Baylor (10-8)
  7. Texas Tech (7-11)
  8. Oklahoma State (6-12)
  9. Kansas State (4-14)
  10. TCU (3-15)

The Sooners will obviously miss departed players like Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spanger, but there are still lots of reasons to tune in to this revamped OU squad. Jordan Woodard is a lights-out shooter who will get even more looks now that he's the elder statesman on the team. Christian James became a vital part of OU's tournament run off the bench, and Lon Kruger has prepared him well for a major role. With the handles to attack the basket and a jump-shot that can score from anywhere, I'm picking James to lead the Sooners in scoring this year.

Khadeem Lattin will be a solid 5 for OU, but the team is really going to miss Akolda Manyang (who was dismissed in the offseason for being a dumbass). At 6-9 and 212 pounds, Lattin will have to play smart to avoid getting outmuscled in the post. If he doesn't lead the team in rebounds, it'll be a problem for the Sooners. They're counting on Lattin to be their rim protector and inside scoring threat. There's a lot to like about this Sooners squad, but it took a step back in a year when the Big 12 as a whole really didn't. Any NCAA Tourney berth should be considered a success for this reloading team.

Tanner Brodess

Regular Season Record: 19-11

Postseason: OU will win first game of Big 12 tournament but lose before advancing to the championship. OU will enter the NCAA tournament as a 6-seed and will lose in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

OU’s Leading Scorer: Jordan Woodard

OU’s Leading Rebounder: Khadeem Lattin

Big 12 POY: Frank Mason III

Conference standings and records:

  1. Kansas Jayhawks (16-2)
  2. West Virginia Mountaineers (13-5)
  3. Iowa State Cyclones (12-6)
  4. Texas Longhorns (12-6)
  5. Oklahoma Sooners (11-7)
  6. Kansas State Wildcats (9-9)
  7. Baylor Bears (9-9)
  8. Texas Tech Raiders (4-14)
  9. Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-14)
  10. TCU Horned Frogs (1-17)

The Sooners will have an average season, although they will be showing signs of recovery throughout the year. After such high expectations from last year, Sooner fans should prepare themselves to be more patient with a younger, less experienced bunch. What the Sooners lack in experience and talent, they make up for with athleticism and hustle. If Kruger can channel their energy in the right direction, these Sooners could fly all over the court and surprise a few people along the way. Led by the senior guard Jordan Woodard, OU will need him to not only make shots from the outside, but lead by example and attack the basket. Khadeem Lattin is showing some promise with his improved jump shot, and will hopefully continue to be able to alter people's shots with his shot-blocking skills. Christian James will be the heartbeat of this team. Even though he may not lead in any individual category by the end of the season, he will be contributing all over the court and will be the star of this team very soon. It will be an exciting/interesting year with a lot of new faces, but look for Lon and his boys to exceed expectations once again.