Getting to know No. 18 Oklahoma
As Bill Self mentioned following Kansas University’s Saturday night loss at Iowa State, the Jayhawks don’t have much time to recover and prepare for another solid offensive team in Oklahoma.
The Sooners (12-5 overall, 3-2 Big 12) head to Allen Fieldhouse for Big Monday coming off an 82-65 dismantling of rival Oklahoma State. It was just what OU needed, having lost in overtime to Kansas State and by 21 at West Virginia in its previous two league games.
Only two opponents this season — Butler and Wisconsin — have held Oklahoma below 60 points. The Sooners average 73 points a game (third in the Big 12) and have shot 44.6% from the field (fourth in Big 12).
But Lon Kruger’s team knows how to defend, too. OU has held its competition to 36.9% shooting (third in the Big 12).
Meet the six Sooners KU (14-3, 3-1) has to worry about on Big Monday.
No. 24 — Buddy Hield, 6-4, junior G
Just a fraction of a point behind Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash (17.7 points) for Big 12 leading scorer honors, Hield averages 17.6 points. Unlike his rival from OSU, he can torch opponents from long range.
His 40.8% 3-point shooting ranks fifth in the conference, and he is always ready to fire. HIeld already has made 51 3’s this season — to lead the Big 12 — on 125 hoists.
He’s no one-trick Sooner, either. Hield leads OU with 22 steals, averages 5.6 rebounds and makes 81.8% of his free throws (sixth in the Big 12).
Hield destroyed Oklahoma State on Saturday, nailing all 10 of his field-goal attempts, including four 3-pointers, on his way to 27 points.
He scored 31 in a loss to Kansas State and is averaging a Big 12-best 22.4 points in conference games.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Good luck coaxing Hield into taking 2-point jump shots, a range at which he only makes 25.8% of his attempts. He takes less than two of those a game and only 13.6% of his 228 shots have been on 2-point jumpers. Hield basically lives downtown, and at the rim.
No. 11 — Isaiah Cousins, 6-4, junior G
Though he doesn’t jack as many 3-pointers as backcourt mate Hield, Cousins actually shoots the deep ball at a higher percentage. He has nailed 32 of 72 3-pointers (44.4%, third in the Big 12).
Cousins hit 4 of 8 3-pointers against Baylor, 3 of 5 at Texas and 3 of 5 at West Virginia.
He averages 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds, but does turn the ball over more than any of his teammates (2.4 a game). His carelessness has picked up since the start of Big 12 play, too. Cousins has averaged 4.3 giveaways in the past three games.
— hoop-math.com nugget: 34.1% of Cousins’ shots have been 2-point jumpers. He has made 20 of 59, and they primarily come one-on-one. Only three of his 2-point jumpers have been assisted.
No. 35 — Tashawn Thomas, 6-8, senior F
The former Houston big man has added some power to the Sooners’ rotation after learning 17 hours before the season opener the NCAA had granted him a waiver to play.
He entered the season with 34 career double-doubles on his resume and has averaged 11.5 points and 5.9 boards as a Sooner, while leading OU with 1.5 blocks.
Both of Thomas’ double-doubles this season have come in Big 12 play: 12 points/11 boards at Texas, 14 points/11 boards vs. K-State.
He blocked three shots at West Virginia and two vs. OSU in his last two games. In the non-conference, he swatted five shots against Missouri.
To open conference play, Thomas lit up Baylor, making 11 of 17 shots and scoring 24 points.
— hoop-math.com nugget: As you might’ve guessed, Thomas mostly operates inside, with 57.2% of his shots coming at the rim. He’s not too bad in short- to mid-range, either. His 40% shooting (24-for-60) on 2-point jumpers leads OU’s rotation players.
No. 00 — Ryan Spangler, 6-8, junior F
Again one of the top rebounders in the conference, Spangler averages 8.2 boards a game (second to Rico Gathers’ 11.2).
When the OU defense gets stops, he’s usually the guy finishing them off. He leads the Big 12 with 6.2 defensive boards a game.
Spangler contributes 9.5 points a game, too, and makes 55.4% of his shots. Since he transferred to Oklahoma from Gonzaga, he has hit 50% or better in 38 of his 50 games, all of which he has started.
The rugged forward went for 11 points and 11 rebounds against OSU, his fifth double-double of the season.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Even though most of Spangler’s boards come on defense, he averages 2.0 a game on offense and has 15 put-backs this season. 25% of his shots at the rim have been on the offensive glass. Spangler shoots 73.3% at the rim (44 of 60).
No. 10 — Jordan Woodard, 6-0, sophomore G
The least likely scorer in OU’s starting five, the second-year guard scores 7.9 a game.
The Sooners need Woodard to set things up on offense, and he averages 4.5 assists a game (second in the Big 12 to Monté Morris’ 5.9).
He has started all 50 games of his OU career and has shot 82.4% at the foul line this season.
Woodard shot 5-for-7 vs. OSU, scored 13 points and dished four assists.
— hoop-math.com nugget: The point guard can get to the rim on his own. Of his 19 field goals at the rim this season, only one came via a teammate’s assist.
No. 2 — Dinjiyl Walker, 6-1, junior G
Kruger barely uses his bench, with OU’s five starters all playing 28 minutes a game or more. Walker is the one Sooner backup earning consistent minutes (13.7 a game).
The former junior-college guard averages 5.4 points a game on 39.8% shooting.
Walker’s season-high is 13 points, against Northwestern State, but he also scored 10 points against both Wisconsin and Texas.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Walker hasn’t been great from 3-point range (25%), but 43.4% of his 83 shot attempts have come from deep.