spangler Defense, Not Offense, Will Be The Key To OU Advancing In Their NCAA Tournament Opener

Image via blogs.kansas.com

Putting aside that for whatever reason North Dakota State has become the media darling and incredibly popular upset pick as most of America has spent the last several days filling out their NCAA Tournament brackets. Oklahoma is the higher seed and a favorite in the game for a reason. The Sooners are one of the highest scoring teams in the country — 7th highest, to be exact — and finished second in the regular season of what was arguably the toughest conference in the country this past season.

However, it is Oklahoma’s defense that, in my opinion, will be the most important aspect of their tournament opener Thursday night in Spokane against the Bison.

North Dakota State is the No. 1 team in the entire country in offensive field goal percentage, shooting nearly 51% from the field as a team. That is a pretty remarkable number. And while that should worry any opponent, no matter the difference between their respective tournament rankings, it should be of even greater concern to an OU team that at times this season has offered very little resistance on the defensive end.

NDSU isn’t shooting nearly 51% as a team because they’re making over half of their 18-foot jumpers every night. They are incredibly efficient with their offensive opportunities and have the ability to get points inside and/or around the paint even while not possessing a ton of height on their front line. Anyone who has spent any time watching this OU team is more than aware that a team with a strong inside presence can give the Sooners fits. Well, that won’t necessarily be the case Thursday night. Oklahoma matches up pretty well with the Bison from a height perspective, both along the front line and with each respective starting lineup.

However both in the early part of this season and also again here recently, we’ve seen this OU team give up uncontested layup after uncontested layup to opponents. That cannot happen Thursday night if Oklahoma wants to have any chance of securing their first post season victory under head coach, Lon Kruger.

As efficient as this North Dakota State team can be, you simply cannot afford to allow them those easy buckets. There will be (and have been) nights where OU is hot enough offensively that they can overcome their defensive lapses, but it’s hard to see that being the case if you’re giving up uncontested points to a team that already shoots nearly 51% from the field. It’s not as though Ryan Spangler and/or D.J. Bennett are going to morph into dominant shot blockers over the course of this past week, but both they and OU as a team will have to match their offensive effort on the other end of the court.

If they don’t, it could be one-and-done for the Sooners in the NCAA Tournament much like it was in last week’s Big 12 Conference Tournament. But if they can match that effort and the shots are falling, well then the Round of 32 could easily be just the first of several stops for the Sooners in this year’s tourney.


  • Doobie74OU

    TOTALLY AGREED! It would be nice to see OU establish the Tempo early! NDSU seems a lot better in the half court but if OU could force the tempo a bit and get them out of there rhythm it would help there defense a lot! Not really worried about the Offense because several different players have stepped up all year to carry the offense. OU defense will have to solid no matter what though. Great Post!

  • http://thefootballbrainiacs.com JrsySooner

    Ch 246 TruTV 19:30 7:30 pm for you civlians…….DirecTv

  • http://thefootballbrainiacs.com JrsySooner

    North Dakota State is the No. 1 team in the entire country in offensive field goal percentage
    Saw this and almost threw up, why do we always get these weird games like Boise etc
    I bet some nimrod saw this and paried them intentionally..yOU know high scoring vs great shooting percentage….

    • J.K. Abbott

      With the history of 12′s beating 5 seeds I think your probably right on the intentional part Jrsy.
      If anyone has a gripe it’s Pitino and Louisville’s first round match up. That was a “story line” snow job by the committee for sure considering Pitino and Manhattan’s coaches relationship.
      With some of these games early story lines are important too viewership.

    • Doobie74OU

      I think looking at the 12 seeds this year, NDSU, Harvard, Steven F Austin, & N.C. State, I think I’m pretty happy with NDSU. In my mind it was either NDSU or SFA and SFA came to Lloyd Noble and won last year.. I hear you about No 1 FGP but they also play in the Summit league and there are no teams like Kansas, OK State, Iowa State, Texas in that league. I’m a firm believer in that when it comes to the Big Dance your better bring your A game cause anybody can beat anybody but I’ll take my chance with the #7 scoring offense in the country and the #2 team in the best conference. BOOMER!

  • Sooner Ray

    So you running a game thread Jordan?

    • Jordan Esco

      yep

  • Boomer4life

    BOOMER!!!!!!

  • http://thefootballbrainiacs.com JrsySooner

    SOONER!!!!!!

  • Boomer4life
  • http://thefootballbrainiacs.com JrsySooner

    So you running a game thread Jordan?
    So you running a game thread Jordan?
    So you running a game thread Jordan?
    So you running a game thread Jordan?
    So you running a game thread Jordan?
    So you running a game thread Jordan?
    So you running a game thread Jordan?
    So you running a game thread Jordan?

    • Jordan Esco

      yessir

      • JJ

        Yay…

  • Andrew

    To be fair, the one and done in the big twelve tourney was to a team that arguably could have won the big twelve(Baylor)……..so, I don’t think this team will beat the Sooners, I believe if they loose they beat themselves! One game, one upset, I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come!!!!

  • Super Keith

    OU has to control the paint and the boards. That’s been a weakness for NDSU, so the Sooners have to take advantage of that part of the game. NDSU is also pretty terrible at defending the 3, so another area OU can make hay.

    Definitively need a good defensive outing tonight too. The Sooners are playing in the same building as Harvard, so hopefully they got to see the 12 over 5 upset, and will go out and prove the majority of the media wrong (I still don’t know why OU is so overlooked this year).

  • JJ

    You gonna do enough worrying for the rest of the gang?