Sooner Basketball: Five Burning Questions

Who will be in the starting lineup? What is a realistic goal for next year? Sooners Illustrated has the answer to those questions and more.

1. With all the vacancies, who will be in the starting five?

The Sooners have a couple of options at the point guard position with Calvin Newell from Evelyn Mack and transfer Carl Blair from the University of New Orleans. I expect the Sooners to initially utilize Blair because of his experience at the Division I level, but Newell clearly has the talent to crack the starting lineup and seems the more explosive scoring option if they're looking for some of that at the point position. Guards Steven Pledger and Cade Davis round out the wings. At the post, the Sooners will use newcomer Cameron Clark from Sherman, Texas, as well as returning post man Andrew Fitzgerald.

2. How will the team chemistry be with so many newcomers?

Expect it to be better. That was a major part of OU's problems throughout 2009-10. Guys seemed to have personal agendas, and frankly the Sooners just couldn't ever overcome it. But I believe the leadership will move down from the senior Davis to the rest of the team, and that will help a lot.

3. What is a realistic goal to achieve for the year?

There are really two goals the Sooners should strive for, and they run hand-in-hand. First off, they need to make postseason play, whether it's the NIT or—it's probably a long shot, but—the NCAA Tournament. In order to do that, OU needs to post a winning record throughout the year. If they do these two things, then they will have reached a good goal to build on for the next year.

4. Will the Sooners make postseason play next season?

Contrary to what many people probably think, the Sooners will make the postseason next year. And there are a couple reasons I say this. To start off with, while they aren't many of them, there are a couple guys within the program that have experienced both success and failure and know the difference between the two. Namely, Davis was a part of the Sooners' Elite Eight run in 2009 as well as the 13-18 season last year. So, he will be extra motivated to get this team to the postseason. Second, and OU head coach Jeff Capel said it after the season, the Sooners weren't that far off last year. They were a couple shots or stops here and there from winning games they lost. If they win just two or three of those, they make the postseason, and they'll do that this time around.

5. A lot of people may say the coaching situation is unstable, so what does Capel have to do to ensure another year after next season?

This one seems pretty elementary, but it's important nonetheless: Make the postseason. If the Sooners can make any type of postseason play given the cards that they've been dealt, it will be considered a successful year, and Capel will certainly earn another one. If that doesn't happen, then the Sooners will have went two years without making the postseason, something that Sooner Nation is unaccustomed to.

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