Oklahoma Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Oklahoma Sooners
Big 12 (20-11, 11-7)

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Lon Kruger took the Oklahoma job last year and expectations were high.  After their performance in 2012-2013, it looks like he is on track.  After going 15-16 last season, Kruger has the Sooners at 20-10 during the regular season this year.  They finished 11-7 in the Big 12.  It’s a fairly stunning turnaround for a team that went from near the top to the cellar after the Kelvin Sampson scandal a few years ago.  Since the Big 12 has not been a strong conference this year, Oklahoma was definitely a bubble team.  The Sooners are carving out a place for themselves moving forward in this league.  This year was a big step.

Big Wins: 1/12 Oklahoma State (77-68), 2/9 Kansas (72-66), 3/2 Iowa State (86-69)
Bad Losses: 12/18 Stephen F. Austin (55-56), 2/27 at Texas (86-92), 3/9 at TCU (67-70)
Coach: Lon Kruger (2 seasons at Oklahoma)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Sooners still have a way to go in order to really be a threat in the Big 12.  But at least it is easy to see the talent that they have injected back into the program.  They have a star in Romero Osby, who leads the team in points and shoots 50 percent from beyond the arc.  Steven Pledger and Amath M’Baye also average above 10 points for the Sooners.  Offensively, they have options.  Other than Osby, they have Sam Grooms making half of his threes.  Six players average over 42 percent from the field.  That is a really solid showing.  They are not world-beaters, but it helps when you play teams like Kansas and Kansas State to be able to score at a fairly high rate.  A contributing factor is their free-throw efficiency.  They are 11th in the country at 75.8 percent from the line.  That could come in handy come tournament time.

Why They Can Disappoint:
This team still has not completely put it all together yet.  Despite their depth and strong play from the likes of Osby, they still do not play the best defense they could.  They have trouble disrupting opponents’ shots and they are the worst in the Big 12 in blocks.  It creates opportunities for slashers and shooters to drive inside and get a quick bucket.  They did not get their hands on a lot of passes either to force a steal on the defensive end.  Unfortunately for Oklahoma they are not playing their best basketball right now.  After a really strong start, they are on somewhat of a win-2-lose-1 (give or take) kind of pattern to close out the season.  Momentum has a lot to do with quality play in the postseason, and it is just not on Oklahoma’s side right now.  Their defense may struggle against a hot team.  They are going to have to ramp up their three-point shooting if they want to make a run.

Probable Starters:
Romero Osby, Senior, Forward, 15.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg
Amath M’Baye, Junior, Forward, 10.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Steven Pledger, Senior, Guard, 11.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Sam Grooms, Senior, Guard, 5.1 ppg, 3.2 apg
Je’lon Hornbeak, Freshman, Guard, 5.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Andrew Fitzgerald, Senior, Forward, 5.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Cameron Clark, Junior, Guard-Forward, 6.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.3 (45th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.0 (160, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (148, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.7 (123, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (288, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (203, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.8 (11, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.3 (110, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (189, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (71, 2)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
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 3/10


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