Oklahoma Preview

Few teams have seen the overnight roster turnover that Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel has faced this season.

Just two years ago, the Sooners were arguably the Big 12's best team, with only an injury to All-American Blake Griffin standing between Oklahoma and a conference title. But last year, the Sooners, projected as a top-tier Big 12 team again, were undone by a lack of chemistry. There was talent in pieces like Willie Warren, Tommy Mason-Griffin and Tiny Gallon, sure, but those players never gelled, and infighting led to a 4-12 conference record.

Without that trio — all of whom went pro, to little fanfare — this year's Sooner team might struggle to hit that same mark. Through two conference games, the Sooners are 0-2 and rank next-to-last in the Big 12 in scoring margin, losing by an average of 15.5 points per game. Part of that can be laid on an offense that scored an average of just 56 points per game over those losses. Oklahoma ranks last in the league in turnover margin and are among the league's worst offensive rebounding teams.

But the Sooners have also struggled defensively, ranking 11th in the league in field goal percentage defense and last in the conference in three-point field goal percentage defense. Oklahoma will employ a number of defenses, including a matchup zone to try and limit teams, but with a largely new roster and a lack of overall talent, the Sooners haven't been able to get stops at the defensive end.

Offensively, Oklahoma is led by sophomore Andrew Fitzgerald — 13.5 points per game — and former role player Cade Davis — 13.1 per game. Freshman Cameron Clark gives Oklahoma a nice building piece for the future as well. Sophomore Carl Blair is among the Big 12's leaders in assists. Only Davis is a senior.

More importantly, Capel has players who appear to be willing to listen and get better. Oklahoma will probably take its lumps this year — including in Saturday's game at Texas — but the Sooners may trend up toward the middle of the pack in another year or two.

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