The Sooners have not seen much success this season, but that does not need to be stated to be acknowledged. With that being said, they face the only opponent left in the Big 12 that they can sweep in the no. 13 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers. Can OU shock the nation once more?
How to watch
The Sooners and Mountaineers will tip at 8:00 PM CT, and the game will be aired on ESPN2. The comment section below can be utilized as a game thread throughout the game.
West Virginia is coming in off a tough home loss to Oklahoma State, but that was just their fifth loss of the season. On the other hand, Oklahoma is currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak, which is only the second-worst losing streak for the Sooners this season.
West Virginia is currently 5th in the country for assists, averaging 17.8 assists per match-up. Oklahoma sits at 290th in the country for assists per game, only accumulating 11.5 assists per game.
West Virginia is 3rd in the country for offensive rebounds per game, as Oklahoma is 104th in the country in the same category.
In average scoring margin, West Virginia claims the no. 2 spot in the nation, and Oklahoma is at 180.
In other words, in every sense of the word, this is a lopsided match-up. It should be a win for West Virginia. Key word is “should.” The Sooners came into Morgantown last month, where they would face a hostile environment and the no. 7 ranked team in the country. The end result was one of Oklahoma’s two conference wins. Can they recreate this Sooner magic once more?
How they won
I think we all had a similar reaction to the Sooners upsetting the Mountaineers: “Did that just happen? How?”
Although OU’s record is not good, that is not a reflection of this team’s talent and potential. It’s a grueling season to sit through, but think of this way: We are watching the metaphorically speaking “before shot” they show on commercials. Soon, we will be able to enjoy the “after shot”, but sometimes you have to pay your dues. But that still leaves us asking ourselves, “HOW IN THE WORLD DID WE BEAT WEST VIRGINIA?”
Believe it or not, in the win over WVU, OU forced the Mountaineers to more turnovers. That stat alone is VERY important to understanding how to defeat this talented squad. West Virginia thrives off of turnovers. They feed off them, like a buzzard over roadkill. You take that away from them, they are forced to play a brand of basketball they are not used to.
Another key to this game was the play from Jordan Woodard, Kameron McGusty and Jamuni McNeace. McNeace and McGusty both lit up the first half, keeping the Sooners in a very close back-and-forth game. McGusty ended the game with 17 points and five rebounds, with McNeace adding 14 points and five boards. However, the game changer was Woodard. When Woodard plays well, typically the whole team plays better. Woodard knocked down clutch shot after clutch shot and hit the game-winning shot at the end of overtime. He ended that one with 20 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Who to watch for
When it comes to stats, there is not one single player that stands out for West Virginia. This could seem like a good sign, but this is even more dangerous that having a few stars. When you know who to guard, you can force other players to make plays that are not accustomed to the spotlight. This is not the case with WVU. They encourage people to help off of their defenders, allowing them to find the open man and expose your defense. This is how their offense operates. However, there are a few guys to pay extra attention to.
The no. 1 guy on the depth chart should be Jevon Carter. He is the heartbeat of this team, the senior leader and the guy they most likely will go to down the stretch in close games. He put up 23 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals in that last thriller. He’s a tough dude, and won’t give up til the last whistle.
Elijah Macon is another guy who can contribute, as he did in the last game against OU. He was able to come off the bench and contribute 13 points and four rebounds. He’s another guy that has been around this system long enough, and can come in and provide a spark if needed.
Lastly, Nathan Adrian is a crucial player to this program. Last game against OU, Adrian knocked down three 3-pointers, bringing in 14 points and seven rebounds. He hustles on every play, does a little bit of everything and can really provide momentum swings.
This would be a huge win for Oklahoma, but I just don’t see it happening. Provided that West Virginia is coming off a home loss to Oklahoma State, they will be even more lasered in on Oklahoma, and this will be a revenge game. OU has not been closing out games strong recently, and this will send them to their sixth straight loss.
West Virginia 80, Oklahoma 65