Well its that time again. The Bearcats will take the (semi) home floor down at US Bank Arena in roughly 11 hours depending on whenever it is that you get around to reading this. I don't know a great deal about the Sooners, and I have yet to catch them in action this year. So to gain a little more information I hit up matt over at Crimson and Cream Machine for a little Q&A.
1 The Sooners have been one of the surprises of the season this year. Did anyone see this kind of start coming?
In short, no! This team has far surpassed fan expectations regardless of what happens the rest of the season. I'm not ready to say that Oklahoma basketball is back but after suffering through back-to-back losing seasons over the past two years the fans are pleasantly surprised at how far they've come in such a short time under Coach Kruger.
2 The three point shot is such a weapon in the college game, but it is one that Oklahoma doesn't exploit it all that often (at least not in terms of attempts) is that by design or by chance.
They certainly don't over use it! Oklahoma shot themselves out of too many games under Jeff Capel by failing to run an offense and choosing to just jack up the long ball instead. Coach Kruger has added an inside game to compliment OU's perimeter shooting.
The Sooners average around 16 three-point attempts per game and are good for 41% of them. The success this year as opposed to seasons past is because the shots are from within Oklahoma's offensive system. Junior guard Steven Pledger is averaging 19 points per game and connecting on nearly 50% of his three-point attempts.
3 what explains the massive leap in offensive efficiency between 2010 and 2011? Is that all Sam Grooms?
Absolutely its Grooms. He's a true point guard who looks to pass first and shoot second. He's the type of player Oklahoma has been missing for a few years now. On the season he has 52 assists to only 18 turnovers.
4 What makes the Sooners such a much improved defensive team this season?
A big part of it is ball security. Oklahoma isn't turning the ball over nearly as much this year as they did in the Jeff Capel years. That leads to fewer fast break opportunities for opponents.
The other thing Oklahoma is doing differently is making a concentrated focus to rebounding. At 42.2 rebounds per game the Sooners rank 5th nationally on the boards which results in more one and done trips down the floor for opponents thus limiting second chance scoring opportunities.
5 Lon Kruger is magic. Right?
Absolutely! He has done everything right since coming to OU, from X's & O's to bringing in Sam Grooms to relating to the fans.
Thanks again to Matt. Be sure to check out the Crimson and Cream Machine for pre game information and reactions.