The Oklahoma Sooners: 5:30 ESPN2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cats roll into Maui today for game 1 of the EA Sports Maui Invitational after a smothering defensive performance against Portland. Up first for the Big Blue will be the Sooners of Oklahoma University. Jeff Capel, now in his 5th season with the Sooners will lead Oklahoma into Monday’s contest with a record of 3-0. This undoubtedly will be the easiest game of the tournament for the Cats as Oklahoma only returns 3 players from 13-18 (4-12) 2009-2010 campaign which was the first losing season in Norman since 1981. Statistically speaking, this Oklahoma team does not come into this game looking very impressive. The Sooners currently rank 110th nationally in rebounds per game and 126th in field goal percentage. Another thing to keep in mind is that with all the talk centering once again around the youth and inexperience for Kentucky, this is an Oklahoma team that has only one senior on the roster. Rest assured, this is not Blake Griffin’s Oklahoma team from 2 seasons ago. With that, here will be Oklahoma’s players to keep an eye on:

#2 Steven Pledger- After a solid freshman season for the Sooners, Steven Pledger has emerged as the leading scorer through 3 games for Oklahoma. At 6’4, Pledger playing in the lead guard roll has done a nice job putting the ball on the deck and getting to the free throw line. He is a much more athletic player than UK has seen so far this season and I once again would expect Kentucky’s best defender, DeAndre Liggins, to step up and slow Pledger down. He is also not shy about launching the 3-point ball as he attempted 10 shots from downtown in his last outing against Texas Southern.

#34 Cade Davis- The lone senior on the Oklahoma roster also represents the best 3-point threat for the Sooners. Davis comes into this game shooting 42% from behind the arch. Davis is also a very solid free throw shooter so keeping him from making frequent trips to the charity stripe should help keep the Sooners from scoring over 65.

This shouldn’t be too much of a contest for the Cats considering that Oklahoma represents one of the 6 major conferences. It may also give Coach Calipari some time to play with his new hybrid-zone defense that he has been working on. I have no idea what it will look like but it should be interesting to see if and  how well it works.

Prediction: Cats by 22

 

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