Oklahoma Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Oklahoma Sooners
Big 12 (22-10, 12-6)


Lon Kruger has done a great job since he was hired as Oklahoma’s coach in 2011.  They have made the NCAA tournament the last two seasons and have now made three in a row.  Despite their early exits in postseason play, Oklahoma has proven to be a tough team with scrappiness down low.  They fought tooth and nail at the end of the season to make a run at the Big 12 title.  Will this be the season they get out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament under Kruger?

Big Wins: 1/3 Baylor (73-63), 2/9 Iowa State (94-83), 3/7 Kansas (75-73)
Bad Losses: 11/19 at Creighton (63-65), 12/20 vs Washington (67-69), 1/10 Kansas State (63-66)
Coach: Lon Kruger

Why They Can Surprise:
Oklahoma finished the regular season on a roll.  It was a brutal schedule in the Big 12 for them as they took on Iowa State and Kansas in the last two games of the regular season, but they still managed to win nine of eleven games to put them tied for second in the conference.  This team is built on defense.  They were second in the Big 12 in defending shooters.  It is difficult to get open looks inside or outside.  Teams shot less than 40% against the Sooners and this is a methodical team that protects possessions.  Jordan Woodard facilitates the ball protection, while at the same time leading Oklahoma in steals on the defensive end.  Most importantly though, Buddy Hield is on Oklahoma’s roster.  A candidate for national player of the year, Hield is unquestionably the leader of this team.  He leads the team in points and everything revolves around him, especially since he can take over a game in crunch time.  Another thing that works in the Sooners’ favor is that they are excellent from the free-throw line.  They will not give away close games late.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Overall, the shooting on this team is average.  Oklahoma’s success is predicated on their defense.  They have racked up a bunch of wins because they have been able to slow other teams down.  When they are tasked with a run-and-gun shootout, Oklahoma can find themselves in a difficult situation.  A low-scoring game suits Kruger’s guys best.  Another question is whether or not this team can compete with talented teams top to bottom.  Oklahoma is very good team in a strong conference, but it is unclear if they will be able to keep up with fast, athletic teams than can hit deep balls in transition.  

Probable Starters:
Buddy Hield, Junior, Guard, 17.5 ppg, 1.8 apg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 spg
Isaiah Cousins, Junior, Guard, 12.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.2 apg
Jordan Woodard, Sophomore, Guard, 9.2 ppg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg
Ryan Spangler, Junior, Forward, 10.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.2 bpg
TaShawn Thomas, Senior, Forward, 11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Frank Booker, Sophomore, Guard, 4.8 ppg
Dinjinyl Walker, Junior, Guard, 3.4 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.4 (56th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.1 (88, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (142, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.4 (16, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (122, 4)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.6 (159, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (49, 2)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (179, 9)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (170, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (145, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NCAA    Second Round loss to North Dakota State
2013    NCAA    Second Round loss to San Diego State
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Morgan State
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Michigan
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Syracuse
2009    NCAA    Regional Final loss to North Carolina
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 win over St. Josephs
2008    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Louisville
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Milwaukee
2005    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Niagara
2005    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Utah
2003    NCAA    Round of 64 win over South Carolina State
2003    NCAA    Round of 32 win over California
2003    NCAA    Regional semifinal win over Butler
2003    NCAA    Regional final loss to Syracuse

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules