The Oklahoma Sooners lost quite a bit in terms of production from the Final Four squad. Bringing in fresh talent from the high school ranks, many fans knew this would year would be full of growing pains. Sitting at 9-18 on the year with three games before post-season play begins, things may look grim. However, a closer look reveals a different story.
Over the course of 27 games, the Sooners have lost a grand total of ten outing by six points or less. Much to the dismay of those in attendance, this seemed to be a team without the know how of closing out an opponent. If the momentum swings to the other side of the equation, fans could easily be looking at a team that is 19-8. As we all know, the 20-win barrier seems to be a requirement in order to receive an NCAA Tournament bid. Unfortunately, the ball bounced the other way consistently due to inexperience.
Mentioning inexperience, Oklahoma is led by a quartet of underclassmen. Kameron McGusty and Rashard Odomes both average over 10 points per game and under 27 minutes of play. Yet, one is a freshman and the other a sophomore. Joining the party, freshman Kristian Doolittle averages a team high 6.4 rebounds each night alongside the ability to score in bunches. Lastly, Jordan Shepherd has emerged as a three point shooter connecting on 41.2% of his attempts and continues to see increased minutes with Jordan Woodard unavailable. Confidence will be the key moving forward for Shepherd.
In the fall, 5-star point guard Trae Young will join this young group competing for playing time. The excite level should rise leading up to the following season.
If that wasn’t enough reason to rest assured in the future, fans may also like to know that Lon Kruger coached a losing season at Oklahoma in 2011. During the head coach’s first year at OU, the program secured 5 conference wins — something that is once again a possibility. In 2012, the team took a turn netting 11 conference wins and an NCAA Tournament bid. Dating back to 1984, Coach Kruger has not witnessed his programs produce back-to-back losing seasons.
The Sooners are set to face Kansas State, Kansas, and TCU before the season ends. Could this squad rack up wins four and five in conference? We’ll have to wait and see!