The Sooners are on a two-game skid, having dropped a seven-point decision to Kansas in Lawrence, and an 11-point battle against Baylor in Waco. Suffice it to say OU will be happy to play again in the cozy confines of the Lloyd Noble Center. Outside of their three Big 12 wins, the Sooners (14-7, 3-4) also have quality wins over UCLA, Butler and Tulsa.
Statistically, the thing that most stands out about the Sooners is that they outshoot their opponents across the board, and by substantial margins at that. OU shoots 44 percent from the field while allowing their opponents to connect on only 38 percent of their attempts. The Sooners best their foes from beyond the arc 34 percent to 31. And at the free throw line, Oklahoma scorches the nets at 73 percent while opponents have shot 65 percent from the stripe.
OU is led by 6-foot-4 shooting guard Buddy Hield, who is making a strong run at first-team All Big 12 honors. He scores 18 points per game and pulls down five boards per contest. He also shoots 82 percent from the free throw line and leads the Sooners in steals with 26.
Fellow guard Isaiah Cousins is a good complement to Hield. He averages 13 points and six rebounds per game and shoots 44 percent from three-point range.
Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas averages 11 points and six boards per outing, and leads the team in blocks with 29.
Bruiser Ryan Spangler averages 10 and eight. With any luck, Norense Odiase will be 100-percent healthy if, for no other reason, than to put a body on Spangler.
Where Is He Now? Former Red Raider guard Ty Nurse, a good shooter when open, but not the quickest guard in Tech history, has nevertheless fashioned himself a professional basketball career. Nurse, who matriculated from the Tech program in 2013, is now the starting point guard for Finke Baskets Paderborn (Not exactly the hippest name, hey?) of the German ProA league. He averages 11 points, two rebounds and three assists for a team that is currently 6-13. Congrats to Ty on his success in the hoops business.
Getting to the Line: The Red Raiders are currently No. 2 nationally in total free throw attempts with 498. It is safe to say that free throws are a critical part of Tech’s offense.
A “Good” Loss: A win would have been much nicer, but Texas Tech’s 69-64 overtime loss to LSU in Baton Rouge looks pretty respectable about now. The Tigers are 15-4 overall and 4-2 in SEC play and are well on their way to an NCAA tournament berth. And incidentally, the LSU loss and the Iowa State win are strikingly similar in all but their outcome. In both games the Red Raiders jumped out to big first half leads only to watch them slip away in the teeth of a full-court press.
Big 12 Power Rankings:
1. Kansas (16-3, 5-1)
2. Baylor (15-4, 3-3)
3. Iowa State (14-4, 4-2)
4. West Virginia (16-3, 4-2)
5. Texas (14-5, 3-3)
6. Kansas State (12-8, 5-2)
7. Oklahoma (12-7, 3-4)
8. Oklahoma State (13-6, 3-4)
9. TCU (14-5, 1-5)
10. Texas Tech (11-9, 1-6)
Hoops Notebook: Texas Tech Heads to Norman
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