We had to wait for a little bit, but OU basketball season has finally arrived!
Oklahoma Sooners (0-0) vs. UTSA Roadrunners (1-1): 7 p.m. CT at the Lloyd Noble Center (Norman, Okla.)
Commentary: Chad McKee and Bryndon Manzer
Live Stream: FOXSportsGo
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing
Line: Oklahoma -15 (as of 5 p.m. CT)
- The Roadrunners are coached by former OU assistant and longtime Lon Kruger protege Steve Henson, who is entering his fourth season as the head man in San Antonio. He earned Conference USA Coach of the Year honors in 2018 and led his program to a second place conference finish in 2019, but the the going was a bit tough in 2019-20, as the ‘Runners are come off of a 13-19 (7-11 CUSA) season.
- Fortunately for Henson, he has gained the services of Nevada transfer Eric Parrish, who was once a top-five JUCO prospect. In his first game action with the ‘Runners, the 6’6” Parrish recorded 20 points on 7-11 shooting in a win over UT-Permian Basin.
- In 2019, the Sooners topped UTSA by a score of 85-67, improving their all-time series lead to 5-0.
- With a record of 1-1 and a loss to UTRGV (coached by another former Kruger assistant — Lew Hill), the ‘Runners are currently No. 164 in KenPom’s efficiency ratings. Defense is not considered a strength as the team is No. 257 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
- Gibson’s debut - When UNT transfer guard Umoja Gibson was approved for immediate eligibility, OU’s chances of making it back to the NCAA Tournament improved drastically. The Waco, Texas native averaged 14.5 PPG while sinking 86 three-points last season as a sophomore for a good Mean Grean team. He actually faced OU this past December, scoring 21 points on 8-17 shooting (3-9 from three) in a narrow loss. He won’t start for the Sooners tonight, but expect him to come out firing once he checks in.
- Will Reaves pick up where he left off? - When we last saw Austin Reaves, he single-handedly led the Sooners back from a 18-point halftime deficit — the largest second-half road comeback in Big 12 history. His 41-points effort was the highest scoring output of any Big 12 player last season, and his game-winning shot with 0.5 remaining appeared at the time to punch OU’s March Madness ticket.
- Expanded role for Kuath - OU big man Kur Kuath was always good for a nice little spark off the bench in 2019-20, but the redshirt senior will be starting for the Sooners after averaging just over 10 minutes per contest as a junior. With Kristian Doolittle departed and Brady Manek playing primarily at the four, the South Sudan native will be depended upon to man the middle. After averaging 5.8 blocks per 40 last season (which was good for No. 2 nationally), he should be up to the task.
Prediction - Oklahoma 91, UTSA 70