Breaking Down OU's Slow Start

It's safe to say OU head coach Jeff Capel and the rest of the Sooners would have been shocked and even disappointed if someone had told them at the beginning of the year that they would be 8-4 and nowhere near the Top 25 traveling into their last nonconference game before the start of Big 12 play.

But that is where the Sooners are as they move into a pivotal road contest at No. 22 Gonzaga.


So Sooners Illustrated is here to analyze the three reasons why OU has an 8-4 record, with losses to Virginia Commonwealth , San Diego , Houston and UTEP, instead of a better mark such as 10-2 or 11-1.


3. Poor ball movement—If it seems like there are times when the Sooners aren't making that extra pass, pick or cut, it's because they simply aren't. The Sooners have failed to get good looks on a lot of possessions due to the lack of execution of something in the offense, whether it's missing a pick or a potential backcut to the bucket. These things have prohibited OU from making the extra pass, which many times forces the defense out of position, resulting in better looks at the basket.


2. Limited post presence—OU is running out of a four-guard, one-post set, so it is a guard look as it is. But the Sooners haven't made much of an effort to utilize the post game in order to excel out of the four-out, one-in set. The guards haven't had great looks from the outside, and part of that is because they have failed to develop a steady game in the paint. Freshman forward Tiny Gallon, the only starting post for the Sooners, averages 11.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Outside of him, the Sooners don't have another post player averaging more than four points and four rebounds per game. The next closest is senior Ryan Wright, who averages 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest. So, the Sooners need to step up their inside-out game in order to make their offense more efficient.


1. Youth—At the end of the nonconference slate, it is fair to say that a team that starts only one senior, along with a junior, sophomore and two freshmen, would have its struggles attributed to youth. So, that is a large portion of the Sooners' problems. But for OU to turn it around in time for a brutal conference schedule, the youth needs to start stepping it up. That means guys like freshman guard Tommy Mason-Griffin and Gallon must start making plays and adapting to the system. The Sooners need to start blending their few experienced players with their crop of youth.

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