With three top-10 wins under their belt in the mont of January (and two in their past two games), the Oklahoma Sooners are up against yet another big-time opponent as they host the Alabama Crimson Tide in this year’s edition of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. It’s Oklahoma sixth game against a top-10 opponent in the month of January as well as the third game of a seven-game stretch in which OU faces six teams that are currently in the top 15 of the AP Poll.
Unfortunately for the Sooners, they’ll be without two key contributors due to COVID-19 protocol.
No. 24 Oklahoma Sooners (10-4, 6-3 Big 12) vs. No. 9 Alabama (14-3, 9-0 SEC): 11 a.m. CT at the Lloyd Noble Center
Commentary: Jason Benetti and Dan Dakich
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Sports 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: Even (as of 9:30 a.m. CT)
- In addition to being No. 9 in the AP Poll, the Tide is currently No. 9 in KenPom’s team efficiency ratings. Bama is No. 15 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 8 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
- Alabama’s bread and butter is the three point shot, as the team is averaging 10.9 three-pointers per contest — the sixth-highest total nationally.
- The Tide is led in scoring by John Petty Jr., who is averaging 13.9 PPG while connecting on nearly 42 percent of his three-point attempts.
- Bama is one of the hottest teams in college basketball, winning 10 consecutive games. In that stretch (which has included nine SEC wins), most of the wins have been decisive, although only one came against a top-25 team (at Tennessee, Jan. 2).
- No Reaves or Williams: According to an announcement from OU, the Sooners will be without Austin Reaves and Alondes Williams due to COVID-19 protocol. Reaves leads the team in scoring (15.8 PPG) rebounding (5.1 RPG) and assists (5.1 APG), while Williams has often served as Oklahoma’s spark plug and defensive catalyst over the past two seasons.
Due to COVID-19 protocol, Austin Reaves and Alondes Williams will not be available for today’s game against Alabama.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 30, 2021
- Bracketology: CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and his latest Bracketology projects Lon Kruger’s squad as a five-seed in this season’s Big Dance. Additionally, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has the Sooners as a six-seed in his most recent update, and also gives Oklahoma greater than an 80 percent chance of making the tourney. As far as the NCAA NET Rankings are concerned, OU is currently sitting at No. 20.
- Four-guard success: During OU’s four-game winning streak, OU’s four-guard lineup has been the key to the squad’s defensive intensity. Over the stretch, the Sooners have a 60 to 33 turnover advantage while holding opponents to 40.3 percents shooting (25.9 percent from three). Elijah Harkless has grabbed 10 steals in that span. Unfortunately, the absences of Reaves and Williams will hinder OU’s ability to consistently utilize the four-guard lineup.
I really liked OU’s chances before the Reaves/Williams announcement, but this just throws OU out of its comfort zone both offensively and defensively.
Alabama 79, Oklahoma 70