The latest AP men’s college basketball poll is out and the Oklahoma Sooners are still on the outside looking in. OU earned 82 points in this week’s poll which would rank them #28 if the poll extended that far. That in itself is quite the feat for a team that was picked to finish close to last in the Big 12, but examining the overall body of work would beg the question of, what are the voters not seeing?
The Sooners currently stand at 8-1 on the season with the lone loss coming to #16 Wisconsin. They have more road and neutral site wins than 22 of the 25 teams currently ranked and they’re winning with balance on both ends of the flor.
As a team Oklahoma is shooting 45% from the floor at an average of 75.4 points per game. They are holding their opponents to 64.9 points per game with a shooting percentage of just 36% on average. The Sooners are crashing the boards with reckless abandon. OU holds a +5.2 rebounding margin on the year thanks to an average of 42.6 boards per game.
Across the conference Oklahoma has the Big 12’s second leading scorer in Christian James (19.2 PPG), third-leading rebounder in Brady Manek (8.3 RPG), and fourth best three-point shooter in Matt Freeman (52.2%). So, what am I missing?
The good news is that lack of respect is possibly the best motivator there is in sports. Lon Kruger entered the season without a defined super star on his team and for the first time in three seasons they are functioning as a complete team. Ranking and accolades are sure to come if Oklahoma continues on their current path but that’s probably the last thing on Kruger’s mind as he prepares his team to play their eighth game away from the Lloyd Noble Center this Saturday night.
A trip up the turnpike to play USC in Tulsa is next up for the Sooners.