Facing the Frustration

NORMAN, Okla. -- Just when you thought the Sooners were getting things together, they've fallen apart, losing eight straight after winning four consecutive Big 12 games, prompting the question ‘Why?' Sooners Illustrated breaks that down inside.

1. Tougher schedule--Take a quick glance at the four game winning streak, and one will see that it was against Texas Tech, Colorado, Iowa State and Baylor, none of which are in the top half of the conference. After dropping a heartbreaking Bedlam game, along came the likes of Texas (the second meeting), Missouri, Texas A&M and Kansas, all ranked foes, two of which were in the top five at the time. The Sooners ran into a road block here because they were simply playing more talented teams.

2. Lack of motivation--This happens to youthful teams who are in midst of losing streaks and fail to have the type of mental toughness that's necessary for league play. Because of that, a two or three game skid becomes eight or 10. That's just what's taking place here. With every loss, less and less is conceivably on the line. There's no NCAA Tournament. There's no NIT. There's likely no postseason at all. Is that a justifiable reason to just give up? No, but that's reality and it appears to be the case with this team.

3. No consistency on either end of the court--During the losing streak, the Sooners have been outscored by an average score of 74.5-60.4. That says a couple of obvious things. First off, they have had all kinds of trouble scoring the ball in the basket. In fact, two of the past three games have featured guard Cade Davis with 21 points and no one else in double figures. That can't happen, especially for a team that's already battling talent issues. Second, OU hasn't exactly been stifling on defense, either. The Crimson and Cream have allowed 80 or more points in each of the last two contests, giving up 84 in their 26-point blowout last night. Opponents have managed 80 or more points four times amidst the losing skid. Only once, vs. Nebraska, did OU hold its opposition to less than 60, when the Cornhuskers squeaked out that narrow 59-58 victory.

So, there's the main explanation for the losing streak.

Indeed, Oklahoma State is a much less talented team than some of the others during the losing streak, but if the Sooners come out Saturday unmotivated and inconsistent on offense and defense, the skid will run to nine, making the Bedlam game even more crucial.

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