OU-Oral Roberts Hoops Preview

NORMAN, Okla. — SI breaks down OU's Thursday night game against the Golden Eagles below.


The Sooners play their second game at home since returning from Anaheim, a 7 p.m. tilt against the 6-2 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. OU, at 5-1, is coming off an 82-53 thrashing of Sacramento State, while ORU has reeled off six in a row, including their most recent conference victory against Southern Utah. The teams have met 12 times on the hardwood, with OU commanding a decisive 10-2 series advantage.

Sooner Notes:

--OU is averaging 79.0 points per game after averaging just 66.0 a year ago. It has scored at least 80 points in half of its games so far this year.

--A major concern coming into the season was rebounding, but the Sooners have fared very well in that department. They rank seventh in the country with a +9.8 rebounding margin.

--Junior college transfer Sam Grooms ranks third in the Big 12 with 5.0 assists per game and ranks second with his 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.

--Junior guard Steven Pledger leads the club with 17.8 points per game, scoring in double figures all five times he's took the court. He's shooting a team high 54.5 percent from the field and 48.3 percent from long distance.

Looking at the Golden Eagles:

--The Tulsa-based team is outscoring its opponents by 8.1 points per game and out-rebounding them by 6.9 boards per contest.

--ORU had five players named to the All-Summit League preseason first or second teams, including first team forwards Dominique Morrison and Michael Craion.

--Morrison leads the team with 16.4 points per game to go along wit 3.8 rebounds on average.

--Head coach Scott Sutton is in his 13th season at ORU with a 229-157 overall record.

Projected Starters:


F Andrew Fitzgerald (6-8, 247, Jr., 9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg)

F Romero Osby (6-8, 232, Jr., 11.3 ppg, 7.7 rbg)

G Sam Grooms (6-1, 203, Jr., 7.5 ppg, 5.0 apg)

G Steven Pledger (6-2, 205, Jr., 17.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

G Cameron Clark (6-6, 198, So., 10.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg)

Oral Roberts:

F Steven Roundtree (6-8, 190, So., 12.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg)

F Dominique Morrison (6-6, 210, Sr., 16.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg)

F Michael Craion (6-5, 215, Sr., 12.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg)

G Roderick Pearson (6-2, 195, Sr., 7.1 ppg, 2.5 apg)

G Warren Niles (6-4, 175, Jr., 11.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg)

Sooners Illustrated's Take:

As mentioned, the Sooners have dominated the series over time, winning nine games against the Golden Eagles by double digits en route to that 10-2 advantage. But ORU actually gave OU a tough test last year, when it led by 13 three times, only to fall apart and lose by 13. The Golden Eagles figure to give OU a somewhat similar test this year. OU should win it, not in blowout fashion, but not in nail biter fashion either.

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