The Moore American


March 19, 2014

Oklahoma prepares for the unknown in first round



In 2009, the emphasis was even greater. Blake Griffin was that season’s player of the year because he could score against anyone.

“We’d like to have Blake — no questions asked,” Kruger joked.

No doubt. NBA lottery picks are usually a given that can dominate under any circumstance. The Sooners lack that unique talent. But they aren’t weighed down by that predictability because they can put up to five legitimate scoring threats on the floor at any given time. Even Ryan Spangler, who is the only starter averaging less than double figures at 9.9 points a game, has three 20-point game this season.

“It’s great,” said OU guard Buddy Hield, who is averaging a team-leading 16.8 points a game. “This whole team is capable of knocking down shots. You can’t leave anybody open. On any given night anyone can get hot.”

The Sooners need that to continue Thursday. The scoring ability makes them a tough matchup.

It wasn’t an overnight development. OU showed offensive diversity from the season’s opening tip.

OU won games almost strictly because of it early in the season. In February, defensive improvements finally arrived.

But the first thing North Dakota State and any future opponents will notice is the Sooners have thrived because they don’t rely on a definitive scorer.

“We’ve had good success with the balance we’ve had this year, with it being different guys on different nights,” Kruger said. “Obviously, Cam and Buddy have been it the majority of the time. But Isaiah has done it at times and so has Jordan. It’s been different guys at different times and it’s worked well.”

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