NCAA tournament team previews: Oklahoma Sooners
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team's national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 23-9, 12-6 in Big 12
Adjusted offense/adjusted defense: 116.7 (13th) / 100.4 (83rd)
Seed: No. 5 in West
Impact player: Buddy Hield, sophomore guard, 16.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, .451 field goal percentage
The Caser For:
The Sooners finished in second place in what KenPom judged as the second-best conference in the country. They earned that standing with eight top-50 wins, including road victories over Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State. In addition to Hield, Cameron Clark, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard average double-figures in scoring, and OU had the best field goal percentage from behind the arc in the Big 12. Three teams in its conference – Texas, Kansas and Kansas State – ranked in the top 30 in adjusted defense on KenPom. The Sooners beat two of them, and scored at least 80 points in a game against all of them. Regardless of who they match up with in the tournament, their offense will make them a very tough out.
The Case Against:
Quite simply, Oklahoma's defense could end its season prematurely. The team allowed opponents to shoot 48.6 percent from two-point range and 34 percent from 3, both of which ranked outside the top 140 in the country. The Sooners have just one truly bad loss, falling at home to Louisiana Tech, so they don't appear to susceptible to a big upset, but anyone who can score with them will be a threat to send them packing. They're also vulnerable whenever a team keeps Hield in check. He has scored 15 points or fewer in 12 games this season. The Sooners lost six of those contests.
SI prediction: Lose to North Dakota State in second round View complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts