The Oklahoma Sooners enter the season as one of the few teams that could potentially usurp Kansas and win a Big 12 Championship. With a loaded roster that includes a potential Player of the Year candidate, Oklahoma is looking to prove that their top-10 preseason ranking is no joke. The Sooners gave TCU just their second-ever Big 12 win in 2013, but it will likely take an inspired performance for the Frogs to steal one against this year's OU team.
Games 22 & 31: Oklahoma Sooners
Date: Tuesday, February 2
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Lloyd Noble Center - Norman, OK
Date: Saturday, March 5
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX
Know the Foe
SB Nation: Crimson & Cream Machine
Big 12 Preseason Ranking: 2nd
Location: Norman, OK
Head Coach: Lon Kruger
2014-2015 Record: 24-11 (12-6, 3rd)
Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16
Key Losses: G TaShawn Thomas
Key Returners: G Buddy Hield, G Isaiah Cousins, F Ryan Spangler
New Additions: G Rashard Odomes, G Christian James, C Akolda Manyang
The 2014-2015 Sooners were unique in that they mainly relied on their five starters to carry the bulk of the load. Each of OU's starters averaged over 30 minutes per game last season, with "sixth man" Frank Booker being the next closest at 14.3 minutes per game. The biggest indicator of future success for this Oklahoma team is that four of those five starters from last year's Sweet 16 team are back. There's no question that Buddy Hield will be the foundation for the Sooners in 2015. Hield was named the Big 12 Player of the Year last season after averaging a league-best 17.4 points per game while also gathering 5.4 rebounds and dishing out 1.9 assists. He was named the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year for this season, and was also a unanimous choice for preseason first-team Big 12 honors.
While Hield is the undisputed leader of this team, his supporting cast isn't too shabby. Isaiah Cousins returns for his senior season after an impressive 2014-2015 campaign in which he averaged 11.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. The team's leading rebounder, Ryan Spangler, is also back for his senior year. In addition to his 8.2 boards per game, Spangler dropped in 9.7 points and dished out 1.3 assists each night. Jordan Woodard, the final returning starter for Oklahoma, is about as well-rounded as they come. He will be looking to improve on a season in which he averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds, while also leading the team in assists with 3.8 and steals with 1.6 per game. Woodard is an incredibly talented guard that looks to figure heavy into Oklahoma's success this season.
A pair of four-star recruits from Texas highlight Kruger's incoming freshmen. Rashard Odomes is a 6'7" guard out of Copperas Cove High School while Christian James is a 6'4" guard out of Bellaire High School. The Sooners also added 7-foot JuCo transfer Akolda Manyang out of Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. With the returning talent at his disposal, and the way he structures his lineups, it might be a season or two before Lon Kruger's talented recruiting class contributes significantly in Norman.
Last Time Around
02/07/15: Oklahoma 68 at TCU 56
02/28/15: Oklahoma 67 vs. TCU 60
After a hot start, TCU ran out of gas down the stretch, and the Sooners came back from a ten point deficit to get their 20th win of the season.
Oklahoma 73, TCU 60
It might be tougher for this year's TCU team to improve upon last year's close seven-point loss in Norman. While both teams look to have comparative defensive units this season, it will likely be more difficult for TCU to match Oklahoma on the offensive end. The Frogs would need a good-shooting day to keep things close in Norman.
Oklahoma 73, TCU 71
Potentially energized by two road wins in their prior three games, a hot-shooting TCU team could give Oklahoma a scare in the final game of the regular season. With a good day from the defense and a couple of key role-players lighting up the scoreboard, the Frogs could pull a major upset in Fort Worth. Oklahoma holds the advantage in talent and experience, but a win would give TCU some major momentum entering the Big 12 Tournament.
Opponent Team Previews:
Game 1: Southeastern Louisiana
Game 2: Houston Baptist
Game 3: South Dakota State
Game 4: Rhode Island
Game 5: Maryland /Illinois State
Game 6: SMU
Game 7: Colgate
Game 8: Washington
Game 9: Prairie View A&M
Game 10: Abilene Christian
Game 11: Bradley
Game 12: Delaware State
Games 13 & 24: Oklahoma State
Games 14 & 25: West Virginia
Games 15 & 20: Texas
Games 16 & 29: Baylor
Games 17 & 23: Kansas
Games 18 & 28: Texas Tech
Games 19 & 27: Iowa State
Game 21: Tennessee
Games 22 & 31: Oklahoma
Games 26 & 30: Kansas State (11/5)