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Bedlam Preview



Photo Attribution: Icon SMI

I exchanged emails with our good friends acquaintances over at Crimson and Cream Machine about what we can expect from Bedlam tonight. They had some interesting takes about Travis Ford,

1) Has OU regressed as the season has gone on or has their soft non-conference schedule caught up to them?
It has definitely been a soft non-conference schedule that has caught up to them. Yet, there were solid wins mixed in there against Arkansas and Houston or even Washington St. (or so we thought at the start of the season).

Oklahoma, with new coach Lon Kruger had very little expectations with the shambles this program has been left in. They had some unproven talent that was able to put together a good stretch of wins in order to garner some attention. However, conference play is an entirely different monster.

The Big 12 is a solid basketball conference and just got stronger with the addition of West Virginia. Teams like St. Louis fail to compare to what conference foes bring to the court.

In all fairness, this is where the experts thought this Sooners squad would be at this point. The 76 Classic and reaching the championship game there instilled a false sense of who this team was and is. That all came crashing back to reality with the Texas Tech loss.

2) Who is OU’s most improved player from the beginning of the season until now?
The most improved player would have to be Sam Grooms who came in as a JUCO transfer.

Oklahoma fans had a good idea of what this kid was capable of but it has really begun to manifest itself in the past 8 games. Grooms has adjusted to the Big 12 style of play and protects the ball well while not playing outside of his capabilities.

On a team that has tried to do too much as individuals, Grooms has remained a constant source of ball protection while finding the open man.

Currently he sits at 4th in the nation in terms of the assist to turnover ratio with 6.1 assists a game to only 2 turnovers.

3) Who are OU fans most afraid of?
Sooner fans have begun to take note of Le’Bryan Nash. He is really coming into his own and has the ability to put up some numbers. Nash will certainly be a point of focus heading into this matchup and will need to be physical with him.

In the games Nash has had a low output, the defense of the opposing team has a reputation of being one of the more physical. Oklahoma should use this approach as well in an attempt to disrupt the youngster from finding any sort of rhythm.

4) Better coach: Travis Ford or Lon Kruger?
That is somewhat of an unfair question. We can look at first year in the Big 12 and make a conclusion in favor of Travis Ford. On the other hand, we can look at overall win percentage (Kruger at 61% and Ford at 58%) and the fact that Lon Kruger has 11 years of experience over Ford.

If we turn the box one more time we could even factor in NCAA Tournament appearances and which round they were ousted. Ford has had 20+ win seasons each year he has been at Oklahoma St. but, this year he will fall short. Kruger walked into a heap of nothing good and has had a dismal output.

So I’ll base my answer on this year alone. Travis Ford has a better conference record and therefore I’ll give him the nod but if we revisit this later down the road, Kruger could get the bid.

5) What’s the ceiling for this Lon Kruger squad in the next few years?
That’s a very good question. The direction in which the program is going right now, Kruger has earned the approval of most. His recruits will start funneling in and hopefully will yield some scorers.

There is a good foundation being laid right now but a few vital pieces are still lacking. I would say in the next 3 seasons, Oklahoma could and should expect an NCAA Tournament bid.

6) Give me your prediction. This game is literally a toss up for me. The way Oklahoma has defended the perimeter has hurt them all season long. If Keiton Page gets going early, it could be a long night for the Sooners as things open up for Le’Bryan Nash. I’m going to be a complete homer here and give OU the 67-64 edge simply because they are playing at home.

Tip time at 7:00 PM tonight in Loyd Noble

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