OU gets back in action tonight with a home game against Houston Baptist. The Sooners are 4-1 with the sole loss being a 73-70 heartbreaking loss to Utah State in the finals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
A tough loss in a game which could have very well been a 10 seed versus a 7 seed type of game in the NCAA Tournament. Both teams are viewed in that manner and this game hopefully will provide OU with a glimpse of what awaits them as the schedule gets markedly tougher after tonight’s home game versus Houston Baptist.
After tonight the schedule ascends with UCF-road, ranked Florida-home, Butler-home, and ranked Arkansas on the road. Plus, later on in the SEC/Big 12 challenge the Sooners will have to play at Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers. Throw in the normal array of Big 12 stops and that’s a formidable strength of schedule for Porter Moser’s first team in Norman.
Coach Moser wasn’t happy with the last four minutes in the Utah State loss as the Sooners allowed a six point lead to turn into a three point loss due to questionable shot selection.
This is the type of situation where Duke transfer Jordan Goldwire playing the point has to exert leadership as not just a defensive point guard, but a point guard who can run the show with the game on the line against a quality opponent.
Time and score…time and score….time and score—you’ll hear this throughout this presser from Coach Moser. And he’s absolutely correct—his team played beautifully for thirty-six minutes then lost their poise in the final four minutes of the game.
It’s grow up time in a hurry. Both Florida and Arkansas are nationally ranked with tall athletic squads who extend defensive pressure all over the court.
There’s lots of good things on this Sooner team, but the thing which I have circled most is if Jordan Goldwire can be an offensive point guard who can take charge of the team in the moments like we saw in the Utah State loss.
Coach Moser doesn’t want the ball to stick like it did last year with Austin Reaves…he wants the ball to move in those situations where his team either gets a great look or gets to the free throw line.
On my bottom side of the basketball matinee tonight–the tanking 6-11 Thunder host the 11-6 Utah Jazz in a game in which I’m not sure if Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is going to play or not. The Thunder play the putrid Houston Rockets twice this week–so I would guess Presti needs a loss tonight. This is one of those nights where I’ll try to catch seven first half minutes and then the last five minutes of the game just to see how some of the developmental kids play against the Jazz.
The TNT Tuesday night showcase game was excellent last night as the NY Knicks held off the LA Lakers without LeBron. Russell was absolutely brutal in the first half, then in the second half played some of the best basketball I’ve seen from him in a while. I think Frank Vogel and his relationship with Russell Westbrook will be the focus in my NBA Journal entry this week.
Hope everyone stays safe and has a wonderful Thanksgiving.