Head coach Lon Kruger has to be happy with the 6-0 start to the season, and he has to be even happier about the No. 7 ranking his Sooners have right now in the AP Top 25. But what has him happiest? How about the play of his senior guard, Buddy Hield?
Hield has absolutely crushed it so far this season, averaging 20.8 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting. He's led Oklahoma to two big wins against Wisconsin and Villanova, and now he'll take charge against Oral Roberts in the Sooners' fifth home game of the season.
The Golden Eagles do have two more wins to their credit than Oklahoma does, but they also have two more losses than the Sooners. Oral Roberts sandwiched a five-game winning streak between losses to South Carolina and New Mexico.
The Sooners have been putting up 86.5 points per game while Oral Roberts averages 81.1 points per game. We may not see any defense in this game.
Why Oklahoma Will Win
If there is one thing the Sooners do exceptionally well, it's shooting from behind the three-point line. Oklahoma knocks down 46.5 percent of its three-point attempts. Here's the real kicker, the Sooners also lead the nation with the lowest three-point-shooting percentage allowed (22.8 percent). The Golden Eagles hit on 39.8 percent of their tripes, so the Sooners definitely have to continue to close out hard and contests perimeter jumpers. Offensively, it'll be Hield's show to run. He'll make the offense flow, and if Isaiah Cousins can knock down some threes and create for others, Oklahoma will come out with another win.
Why Oral Roberts Will Win
Obviously, this game will be won or lost on the perimeter. Obi Emegano and Jalen Bradley have to be superb from behind the arc. After all, three points is still more than two points. Head coach Scott Sutton has to stress the importance of locking down Hield in this one. He's one of college basketball's elite scorers, so the game plan has to be focalized on stopping Hield. Let any other Sooner get shots up, but don't let Hield get into space. If he does, it'll be a long night for the Golden Eagles. Also, if Oral Roberts doesn't get to the free throw line, you can forget about it. The Golden Eagles have hit the eighth-most free throws in the country (185) and taken the 11th-most (250), so they'll have to pick and choose when they attack the basket.
What's Going To Happen?
Welcome to the Buddy Hield show. He'll take over the game at some point, and though Emegano and Bradley will hit on a few threes, Oklahoma will contain the Golden Eagles for the most part. The Sooners will keep them off the foul line and rotate well on defense. Cousins will help Hield out in the scoring department, and Ryan Spangler will do work on the boards. Oklahoma wins this one by double digits.
Google map and directions