Oklahoma basketball: Four things you need to know about this 2014-15 squad


It’s time to take notice of what you have in your backyard, Norman. Yes, the Oklahoma City Thunder are pretty good, but the Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball will, also, be one of the most exciting basketball teams this upcoming season.

The OU football team’s chances at a College Football Playoff bids are all, but shot. However, Oklahoma might pick up some hardware on the hardwood.

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The Oklahoma men’s basketball team is coming off a stellar 2013-14 season, which included a second place finish in the Big 12 regular season standings and a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

OU dropped a few games late in 2014, and they potentially could’ve grabbed a higher seed. Regardless, Oklahoma has the talent to improve upon their shortcomings from a year ago.

Lon Kruger fields a veteran starting lineup, which will have to replace stud forward Cameron Clark. However, this isn’t the same team Jeff Capel left in shambles. There are things you need to know about this squad.

1. OU has a must-see schedule

Not all of their best games will be in Norman, but they will be must-watch basketball. A lot of casual college basketball fans don’t start watching until March Madness rolls around. This is a year you should break that habit, if you’re one of them.

Oklahoma travels to Creighton, faces an elite group at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament (including potential match-ups with: Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, UCLA, Georgetown, UAB, and Butler), a home game with the Missouri Tigers, a trip to Vegas to play the Washington Huskies, and of course, all nine other Big 12 schools will come to Norman at least one time.

OU’s facing elite competition from start to finish, which should help them gain some national respect if they can compete at a high level from the beginning of the season.

2. A Big 12 crown is obtainable

The Big 12 will be super competitive yet again. While this may seem like a negative, I see it as a positive. Kansas typically dominates the league and takes home the conference regular season title. However, Texas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma are all capable of winning the Big 12 as well in 2015. With more quality teams means more chances for others to lose. If OU can avoid losing “gimme” games, they might be able to de-throne Kansas. Though, it’ll be extremely tough with how good this conference is this year.

3. OU has one of the best players in the country

For the first time since the Blake Griffin era, OU has a superstar. OU junior Buddy Hield is a potential first-round pick in next year’s NBA Draft, and he’s only gotten better since arriving on OU’s campus.

He spent the summer working out with Kevin Durant and LeBron James, and the media loves his basketball ability.

Buddy Hield will be expected to replace the scoring production of Cameron Clark, and if he can, his stock will only continue to rise. He’s a fun player to watch, and he’ll definitely be considered for the Big 12 Player of the Year award if he lives up to the hype.

4. The media isn’t sleeping on this team

A lot of fans would probably want to “go under the radar.” However, not enough fans are turning out for basketball games. So here’s my plea.

If the media is handing out praise to Oklahoma for a sport other than football, you probably should be taking notice as well.

The Sooners are a sexy preseason pick to make some noise this year. Lon Kruger’s teams have had their kinks, but it feels like the honeymoon phase is over and Kruger is truly ready to get down to business.

Could this be the year Oklahoma finally wins its first men’s basketball national title? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But the media is digging this Oklahoma team. The Lloyd Noble Center ought to be popping with excitement, but it’s up to the fans to truly make it happen.