Opponent: Oklahoma Sooners
Conference: Big 12
Last Five: 2-3
Venue: Ford Center, Oklahoma City
Time: 9:00 PM
Different sport this time. This Sooners Basketball team is a far cry from the halcyon days of Blake Griffin and Co. They are young, and relatively inexperienced. I watched them for a bit when they went out to Maui and wasn't that impressed with them. They have some nice players like Andrew Fitzgerald, seen here in his high school days, and Cameron Clark who is the new freshman phenom in Norman. Needless to say Clark is a little bit athletic.
However the Sooners don't have a lot of depth, 4 players average over 28 minutes per game, by contrast no one on UC's team averages 28 minutes, Yancy Gates is the highest at 26 per game. The Sooners shoot the ball pretty well, 46 almost 47 per cent from the field, and 37 per cent from three. If there is one thing that Oklahoma doesn't do well on offense above all others it is protecting the ball, they average 15 turnovers per game. During their five game losing streak encompassing the trip to Maui and games with Arizona and Arkansas, Oklahoma coughed it up 77 times.
Going on the road is never easy. And while this game is technically at a neutral site, it is in Oklahoma City. A city that has fans of the Sooners and the Thunder and that is about it. It is a true road game in every sense of the phrase. The Ford Center it is just 18 miles up I-35 from the Oklahoma Campus in Norman. UC has played one road game, at hapless Toledo, and it was a blowout. This is a little bit of a bigger challenge. Its the first time UC has left the state of Ohio, it is the first match up with a Big Six conference school.
However this is a very good match up for UC for a couple of reasons. The Bearcats play a ton of people because of the pressing pressure style. While Oklahoma is a decent shooting team if they can break the pressure they turn the ball over 15 times a game. Coupling the turnover rate with the lack of depth and how many people have to play big minutes UC's style of play can have a cumulative effect. Additionally Oklahoma is not a good defensive team, they allow teams to shoot 44 per cent from the field and 40 per cent from 3. UC should be able to win this game, but I wouldn't be shocked to see it be close for a while.