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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball vs. Ball State: Preview, game thread, and how to watch

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Ball State will be a tougher test for Oklahoma than some may think.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off an impressive offensive performance against Omaha, but they’ll need to put together a more complete performance if they plan on avoiding trouble against the Ball State Cardinals.

Oklahoma (1-0) vs. Ball State (0-1): 7 p.m. CT

TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go

Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)

About Ball State

  • The Cardinals are 0-1, but their loss came by only one point (78-77) on the road at Dayton. Even without Archie Miller (now the head coach at Indiana), Dayton is a solid mid-major program, so this isn’t a result that should be overlooked.
  • Ball State is currently 135th in the KenPom rankings and was picked to finish second in the MAC West this season.
  • The Cardinals are led by guard Tayler Persons, who averaged 15.5 points and 4.9 assists per game last season.
  • Persons and forward Tahjai Teague led the Cardinals with 14 points apiece against Dayton, and Teague also pulled down 11 rebounds in the contest.

3 Things to Watch

  • Three-point defense: In Oklahoma’s opener, the Sooners allowed Omaha to make 11 threes on 21 attempts and also allowed DII East Central to hit 10 three pointers in its exhibition. Granted, both teams cooled down a bit in the second half (particularly ECU), but let’s hope this doesn’t become a common theme.
  • Khadeem and Jamuni: Is it a bit premature to think that Jamuni McNeace could eventually take the starting spot at the 5 this season? Ehh.... probably. Khadeem Lattin is a seasoned veteran who has played big minutes in big games during his career at OU. However, McNeace appears to really be coming into his own as a complete big man, and he was fantastic against Omaha on Sunday (14 points, six blocks and five rebounds). He also has by far the most upside of the two, so we’ll see where this goes. But regardless of how it shakes out, it’s comforting to know that OU has two quality players at the 5. That isn’t exactly common at the collegiate level anymore.
  • Kameron McGusty’s rhythm and confidence: McGusty was the best player for the Sooners during a good chunk of last season. However, the re-emergence of Christian James has moved him back to the bench to start his sophomore season. It seemed as if he was lacking in confidence during a good chunk of the opener, but he seemed to turn it on late in the game. Like James (and most wing players), McGusty is someone who needs to get into a rhythm in order to gain confidence and truly thrive. When he’s confident and feeling it, he can be one of the best scorers in the Big 12. Hopefully he can find it tonight.

Prediction

I think Trae Young will have a great individual scoring night this time around. He’s more than answered the question as to whether or not he would be a good facilitator as a freshman, but I think he’ll get hot from the field tonight. Look for him to sink four threes or more in this one. Defensively, I think OU will look better tonight than it did on Sunday.

Oklahoma 92, Ball State 68