Oklahoma basketball: Sooners still looking strong

oklahoma basketball

Beating three teams in the top 10 in one month is not easy, but Oklahoma basketball did that. Beating four teams in the top 15 in one month? The Sooners almost did that.

After falling short to Texas Tech in Lubbock on Monday, Oklahoma has nothing to hang its heads about. After defeating No. 9 Alabama on Saturday without two key players including the leading scorer, losing by five to the Red Raiders in Lubbock is not something the Sooners are upset about especially since the Sooners almost won but the offense was just not there. Oklahoma also held the leading scorer in the Big 12 to six points, all coming from free throws late in the second half.

Oklahoma struggles offensively because there isn’t a go-to guy when the Sooners need a basket. Over Lon Kruger‘s career at Oklahoma, he’s had at least one playmaker who can get the ball and get a bucket. Now, it’s up to De’Vion Harmon and Austin Reaves when the Sooners need a desperate bucket or an offensive boost.

Oklahoma and the Red Raiders struggled shooting on Monday night. Oklahoma was 18-for-54 on field goals including 6-for-22 from three-point range. The Sooners had more fouls and turnovers and lost the rebounding battle as well. Oklahoma wins this game if the shooting was just slightly better. The team defense from this Sooner squad has been unmatched and extremely fun to watch. Overall, it was a rough night for Oklahoma but a very impressive stretch to finish January.

For Kruger and this team, they have exceeded expectations by a landslide. Jumping 15 spots in the polls is the largest single week jump since the Arizona Wildcats in the 1995-96 season. The success comes from a lot of factors for this team.

The first is Kruger, who is arguably one of the most underrated coaches in all of college basketball. Turning a team that was predicted to be near the bottom of the Big 12 is currently sitting among the top teams. Second, this is the first time in a while where we’ve seen an Oklahoma team play together without there being one specific player who the offense runs through.

Harmon and Reaves have done great at scoring but also facilitating and getting teammates involved. In addition, the two transfers, Elijah Harkless and Umoja Gibson, have been instrumental on both sides of the floor for the Sooners. Lastly, there is not a single player on Oklahoma’s roster who doesn’t give all their effort every game. Seems cliché but every guy on the floor goes full speed with no brakes.

Everyone does their job and gives it their all, and I truly think this is the biggest reason in the Sooners success. Doing the little things and not giving a reason for Kruger to be upset after any loss makes this team one of the more fun groups to cover and watch that I’ve ever seen.