The Oklahoma Sooners will compete in their fifth Final Four in school history. Led by head coach Lon Kruger and star player Buddy Hield, the Sooners look ready to capture Oklahoma’s first hoops title.
Here are four reasons why I think the Sooners will win it all.
1. Lon Kruger
Let me warn you now: This will not be the last time you see a coach on this list.
Kruger has been around. He has spent the past 40 years since his playing days at Kansas State on benches across colleges and in the NBA. Aside from this run by the Sooners, his most successful stint has been with the Florida Gators in the early 90s — taking them to 1994 Final Four. Kruger has never won a National Championship, but his knowledge and ability to teach are second to none. He may be the underdog in this Final Four’s coach rankings, but that would be in name alone. Expect Oklahoma to be ready to play.
Unlike recent history, this season has been about the veterans. Sure, freshmen Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are getting all the NBA hype, but players that stayed in school lead the great teams of 2015-16. Oklahoma is the best example of this. Their star player Buddy Hield is a senior, but he is not the only upperclassman contributing on this team. Forward Ryan Spangler and guard Isaiah Cousins are also seniors and guard Jordan Woodard is a junior. These four men lead the Sooners in minutes and scoring. They have amassed a great amount of tournament experience and have clearly learned and gotten better because of it.
Thought this would be number one? Not quite. At least not for me. Buddy Hield’s 25.4 points per game are outstanding. What’s more is those 25 points seem like 50 to the opponents because he gets them in such an overwhelming fashion that they don’t know what just hit them. At times he is shut down for a half, but will take over in the second. Then there are those times that he goes and gets it from jump to the final horn. He can shoot from the mid-range, is deadly from deep and can get to the rim with power and finish. He may be the most unstoppable player in the nation. So why isn’t he my number one factor? Well, I believe that the top reason the Sooners can win the title is…
4. The Three Ball
I don’t mean just Buddy, either. This team can flat out shoot. The Sooners ranked second in the nation in three-point percentage (42.6 percent). Hield’s 46.5 percent from deep leads the team, but he is joined in the 40 percent club by Jordan Woodard (45.9 percent) and Isaiah Cousins (42 percent). But it isn’t just the percentages, it’s the attempts. Hield has 314 attempts on the year. The math comes out to nearly nine three-point attempts per game. Woodard has 170 attempts, Cousins has 150 and Spangler 88. The three-ball has been known as the equalizer in the modern game, but add that to the talent on this team and you may very well be looking at your next champions.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let us know below.