Oklahoma put up quite the effort against Wisconsin on the road before letting them pull away in the second half. Now 5-2 on the season, Lon Kruger will have a similar week compared to last week. The Sooners face a 1-7 Oral Roberts team on Wednesday before facing a tough Wichita State team in Oklahoma City on Saturday. OU needs to get a win in both of these games to avoid dropping three games before conference play starts. The Sooners, a 20-point favorite going into this matchup against the Golden Eagles, should have no problems securing a win at home.
How to watch
The game starts at 7 PM CT and will be broadcasted on Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can also stream it on the FoxSportsGo app if you are not by a television. This will also be the game thread for the game if you wish to make a comment.
Although OU is 60thin the country in points per game, averaging 78.9 points each matchup, the Sooners struggle with long strides of scoring droughts. This problem cost them the game against Northern Iowa and the same thing happened last week in Madison. Oklahoma lead a good Wisconsin team at half, and were only down 64-60 with 10:16 to play in the game. The Badgers went on a 26-10 run in that final 10 minutes, with OU only accounting for two field goals and five free throws in that span. That is rough. Oklahoma should not run into any scoring problems against this Golden Eagle team, considering they are ranked 303rd in the country in points allowed per game, giving up 81.1 ppg. However, OU has to figure out a way to answer this issue before Saturday or they may be staring at a 6-3 record before the very competitive Big 12 play begins. What may be a solution is applying more defensive pressure around the court. OU is a good but not great half court offensive team, and creating more turnovers will allow these athletes to get out into the open court and get easy buckets. Sooners are 27th in the country in steals per game (8.3), with Jordan Woodard being tied for 45th in the country for steals per game (2.29). Oklahoma is also 34th in the country for defensive rebounds, averaging 27 defensive rebounds per game, along with being 29th in the country for blocks per game (5.4). Kruger needs to apply more half court traps, and make opponents uncomfortable on the offensive side. If OU can speed up the pace of the game, they will see much more success.
There is a reason the Sooners are a 20- point favorite in this matchup against ORU. Statistically speaking, this should not be a difficult matchup for OU. Oklahoma continues its' incredible 3-point shooting percentage, making 40.8 percent of their 3-pointers and are ranked 19th in the country. On the other side, ORU is 33.8 percent from the 3-point line on the season, making them 199th in the country from downtown. If that was not enough, ORU is allowing their opponents to shoot 42.6 percent from the arch, and are 336th in that statistical category. Look for the Sooners' guard Christian James to take advantage of this, especially since he is already making 59.1 percent from behind the 3-point and is tied for 57th in the country for 3-point field goal percentage.
OU is not only knocking down shots from outside, but have had continued success from all over the court. The Sooners are 40th in the country in field goal percentage (48.2 percent) compared to ORU being 309th in the country (39.3 percent). Just like the 3-point line, ORU's opponents have had tremendous success from all over the court, shooting 47.2 percent from the field. With all of this being said, Oklahoma should cover the spread and perhaps drop 90 points on this Golden Eagle team. However, this team could sneak up on OU considering they just lost by 4 points to Michigan State on the road. The Sooners cannot afford to look past this team.
Who to watch
In the past, Kruger became known for his consistency with his starting lineup. Despite whatever was going on throughout the season, the starting five hardly ever changed. This year is different. Matt Freeman joined the starting lineup not too long ago, taking the place of freshman Kristian Doolittle. Now, another change is in order. According to a Ryan Aber tweet, Dante Buford, who had been suspended to start the year, will now be getting his first start of the season against ORU. Despite not contributing a whole lot this season so far, Buford has played in big games before and may bring more experience to the court. Watch for Buford to contribute from the outside and around the basket.
Woodard, Christian James and Khadeem Lattin all have continued to lead this team in points. Woodard is having an impressive senior season, averaging 15.9 ppg (team-high), 5.4 rpg, 4.1 apg (team-high) and 2.3 steals. James is putting up 11.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 2.0 apg, while Lattin is avergaing 11.1 ppg and 6.7 rpg and 2.1 bpg. But someone people should be watching for is Rashard Odomes. Odomes lead the team in scoring with 17 points against the Badgers, accumulating 17 points. He is averaging 9.7 ppg and 3.0 rpg. If Buford and Odomes can provide consistent performance nightly, this Sooners team can become more dangerous with Doolittle and Freeman coming off the bench.
In that Michigan State loss, only 5 ORU players scored. Yeah. However, Emannual Nzekwesi, averaging a double-double, (12.4 ppg and 10 rpg) put up 21 points and 13 rebounds. Albert Owens leads the team in points with 16.1 ppg, coupled with 5.9 rpg. Jalen Bradley (11.1 ppg) and Kris Martin (10.7 ppg) also are avergaing double figures, and Bradley leads the team in assists with 4.8 apg. This team has a solid starting five, but has no depth and this will hurt them. They will not be able to run up and down with these Sooners for 40 minutes.
The Sooners will roll past the ORU Golden Eagles in this matchup. OU has too much talent and depth for this overmatched ORU team. With a victory, Oklahoma will push its' all-time record against the Golden Eagles to 16-2 and win their 16th straight against this program.
Oklahoma 91 ORU 74