This University of Oklahoma basketball team is something serious I tell you… I was a bit skeptical when it came to them, because it seems like for the past few years they’re expected to do great things but come up short against big teams. On Monday night that wasn’t the case, beating the No. 9 team in the country, Villanova convincingly 78-55 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Obviously, this team is led by two wing players by the names of Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Hield. These are two guys who aren’t just dominant offensively, but have improved immensely over their collegiate career defensively. Tonight was a clear example of that, combining for 37 points and 8-of-13 shooting from three. Not to mention, Cousins let the team in assists with 10, possibly making a campaign to the NBA that he can be an effective combo guard. Also, the play from the other two veterans on this team, Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard is superb. Spangler hitting 11 points, collecting 10 rebounds, and also dishing out 4 assists while Woodard added 10 points and 4 rebounds.
This is a team that I believe can and will compete for not only a Big 12 championship, but a Final Four appearance. They match-up with any team in this country, and provided they stay healthy ,expect them to climb the ranks though they are already ranked 7th in the country.
What impressed me most during this game was their dominance and confidence. They didn’t seem stressed out or nervous at all, even though they played at a neutral location far away from home. They played a top 10 team that’s supposed to be pretty much equal in skill level and they dominated them in every aspect of the game from the jump (except turnovers… OU had a lot of those). Even with the excessive turnovers, it’s hard for anyone to beat a team that shoots the 3-ball better than they shoot overall from the field… Believe it or not, the Sooners shot 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) from three, and 28-of-60 (46.7 percent) overall.
The Sooners’ bench played well also, especially from senior guard Dinjiyl Walker who scored 11 points off the bench, which is far past his 2.8 points per game average.
The Sooners offense is clearly on point, but the defense may actually be better, crazy huh? Oklahoma held Villanova to just 31.7 percent shooting from the field and a deplorable 12.5 percent from the three. This is all caused by Oklahoma’s length on the perimeter. It’s hard to get a shot up over two 6-foot-4 wing players that move like they are 6 feet tall, but have the wingspan of a post player. It’s also hard to penetrate when you have agile post players like Oklahoma does in Spangler and Khadeem Lattin.
Like I stated earlier, look for this Oklahoma team to really make moves this year in the Big 12 and nationally. They’ve finally matured and you can’t tell them a thing. Next up for the Sooners will be in the state of Oklahoma against Oral Roberts University on Dec. 12. That game will more than likely be exciting for Jordan Woodard whether he wants to admit that or not, because there are four players from Edmond, Oklahoma (the city where Jordan attended high school) and two of which are former teammates of his. Oral Roberts looks good this year so far, with a (7-2) record coming of a huge win against their cross-town rival Tulsa. OU is now (5-0) on the year.
Feature image: (Eugene Tanner/AP)