#83 Oklahoma Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Oklahoma Sooners

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #83
Conference Rank: #7 Big 12

Oklahoma Team Page#83 Oklahoma Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Oklahoma Basketball Tickets

It may not seem like it with the way Oklahoma’s season ended, but the 2012-2013 campaign was surprisingly successful. Few expected the Sooners to compete for an NCAA berth, but they were sitting on 20 wins a few days into March. Unfortunately, things fell apart after that. OU lost their regular season finale to an awful TCU squad and then fell in their opening Big 12 tournament game to Iowa State. In the NCAA Tournament the Sooners held in there with San Diego State for a half, but the Aztecs dominated the second half.

2012-13 Record: 20-12, 11-7
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Lon Kruger
Coach Record: 35-28 at Oklahoma, 514-332 overall

Who’s Out:
The Sooners will almost certainly take a step back after losing basically their entire frontcourt. Romero Osby was by far the most efficient scorer on the team. He averaged 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. Amath M’Baye turned into a solid interior scorer who could also step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency. Andrew Fitzgerald provided just about all of the depth when Osby or M’Baye needed a break. His scoring dropped during his senior season since M’Baye and Osby were asked to take care of that. The losses, however, are not limited to the frontcourt. Steven Pledger was the only dangerous shooter on the team and that is a skill that could be greatly missed if no other shooters step up. For the most part Sam Grooms lost his starting job as a senior, but the point guard was still on the floor over half of the game and could make things happen on offense.

Who’s In:
Coach Lon Kruger needs a lot of help from his newcomers and he should get it from transfers D.J. Bennett, Keshaun Hamilton and Ryan Spangler. Bennett redshirted last season after spending a couple years at the junior college ranks. He is a lanky big man who will not do much scoring, but his defense and rebounding will be a huge asset. At 6-10 and 270 pounds, Hamilton, another junior college transfer, will add some much needed size off of the bench. Spangler spent one season with Gonzaga where he averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in limited minutes. After sitting out a year with the Sooners, Spangler is ready to step into the starting lineup. Freshmen C.J. Cole, Daniel Harper, Frank Booker, Austin Mankin and Trey Slate will attempt to crack the regular rotation, but it is Jordan Woodard who is going to make a big splash. The point guard is a great distributor and a dangerous scoring threat. If he does not earn the starting job from day one, it could be his by the end of the year.

Who to Watch:
Isaiah Cousins will compete with Woodard for the starting point guard spot, but both will see plenty of minutes. Cousins, a 6-4 sophomore, started 14 games a year ago. He may not be able to score like Woodward, but his one year of experience may have him more prepared to run the show. Buddy Hield also turned into a part-time starter as a freshman. He did average 7.8 points per game, but Hield struggled with his shot and he is a much, much better shooter than his 23.8 percent long range shooting would indicate. If anybody is going to replace Pledger’s scoring, it will be Hield. Je’lon Hornbeak, yet another sophomore, is a great all-around guard who plays solid defense and should be able to boost his scoring significantly. Cameron Clark was often the first guard off of the bench last season. The 6-7 wing is a potent scoring threat and his presence always allows Coach Kruger to play smaller since Clark is capable of playing the four spot against certain teams. And the Sooners are not opposed to playing small. They have the size and talent on the perimeter to pull it off.

Final Projection:
More importantly, OU may not have the depth in the frontcourt to run a traditional lineup for an entire game. That will depend on how quickly the newcomers come around. Tyler Neal is an experienced 6-7 forward who can knock down some long balls. He only averaged 6.8 minutes per contest as a junior though and Neal will likely remain a roleplayer who eats up a few minutes here and there. If the frontcourt finds a scorer and a rebounder, this Oklahoma team will be good enough to remain somewhat competitive in the Big 12. That will not be good enough for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament, but it would be good enough for the NIT and plenty of hope for the future.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jordan Woodard, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Je’lon Hornbeak, Sophomore, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Buddy Hield, Sophomore, Guard, 7.8 points per game
Ryan Spangler, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
D.J. Bennett, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.6 (90th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.3 (162, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.5 (164, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (124, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (293, 8)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.3 (NA, NA)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.7 (12, 1 7)
Rebound Margin: 1.5 (131, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (201, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (53, 2)


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