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JwgreDeux

Oklahoma Preview

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JwgreDeux    238

Wednesday we get a little preview of this year's Sugar Bowl match-up vs the Oklahoma Sooners. Though they went to the Final Four last season, Oklahoma finds itself relying on underclassmen for production and in need of a win, losers of 3 of its last 4, after starting the season 5-1. This game will be played on a neutral floor, the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, where Auburn's Heron has played and won 3 high school state championships. 

Looking at the rankings and metrics paints a cloudy picture of this match-up as the Tigers are higher in RPI, but the Sooners are favored by most predictive metrics. As a result the Tigers find themselves 6 point underdogs, at the opening line. Oklahoma will certainly be the most athletic team that we have faced all season. They were expected to be a NCAA tourney team, and certainly have the talent to right the ship and still get there despite their current RPI of 185. They have a nice win over a solid Clemson group, and no bad losses to speak of. They score 80+ points per game, but don't defend very well, giving up 73 per, both numbers are very close to our averages. Their SOS rank is 209 to our 137, so that is fairly similar as well. They shooting percentage is an unimpressive 46%, but they shoot 41% from three. They are a better rebounding club than we have been to this point, but not significantly so. 

They have a quality roster, and play 11 guys double digit minutes, but have shaken up their starting lineup several times. Their primary rotation looks very similar to ours, with good size at the wing, small point guard, and 6'8" posts without big bodies. However, the bring two guys off the bench that are 6'10", one of which will step out and make threes They only have two players averaging double digits in points, both guards, their top three scorers are all guard in fact 4 of their top 6 scorers are guards. One interesting thing I noticed is they have a negative assist to turn over ratio. Their best player is their starting point guard, Woodard #10, he plays 30 minutes per game and averages nearly 18 points per. They have struggled to score against better teams, averaging less that 70 vs top 100 RPI teams (as have we). They have only beaten one team with 5 or more wins, where we have beaten 4.

In their last game the moved their starting point guard to the 2 spot and started their back up point at 1. Both played well in that role and they may stick with that. If so, it will put a spot light on who we start at the 2 spot. It sounds like Brown and Spencer having to "earn" they way back, means they won't start. If so I would be surprised to see Lang attempt to guard Woodard on the perimeter. Will we see Wiley moved into the starting line up in only his second game, shifting DP to 3 and Heron to 2? I would be completely guessing at who are starting five will be at this point, but I have to believe with their guards, our best line up would include Brown, we will see. 

They primarily run a man defense, which our guys will be more comfortable playing against than our last outing vs Mercer. They will switch a lot of guard/guard ball screens on the perimeter and double on post/guard ball screens. Harper will be pressured in the half court sets. They also frequently double the post, so Wiley will need to be alert in the post. Offensively they like the dribble drive, and do a good job of passing out of it. All of this pressure can lead to open shots with good ball movement, something we have lacked at times recently. I anticipate some struggles and growing pains in this game.

So many variables on our side of this equation with the addition of Wiley and the returns of Brown and Spencer. It makes it very difficult to know what to expect, perhaps that works in our favor. Offensively, I like the way that Heron matches up with against their defense, perhaps he has another big game in his homecoming. Defensively, I would like to see ball pressure in the half court and less press when they go small, forcing them to run half court sets.  Purifoy will be looking at guys that can move as well as he can with similar size when he is at the 4 spot, and I will be watching to see how he responds to his struggles from our last game. 

I think for us to get the win, we need to move the ball well and make some jumps shots, and hold them to 70 points(ish).

I personally think we need to win at least one of our games in the State of Connecticut to keep dreaming of being invited to the dance. A loss here makes the next one a must win, a win here puts us in a great position heading into another game we should be favored in. It is vital for us to finish the non-con schedule well, and build some confidence. This is a winnable game if we defend and rebound better, it could be embarrassing if we don't.  

My old coach would call this a yard stick game, how do we measure up. 

7:30 on CBS sports.

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AUBwins    421

It gets real these next 2 games.  I hope we get hot shooting.  

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gravejd    179

Yard stick game indeed. This will be a tough one for our guys but i'm excited to see how we respond. I'm concerned they will likely be starting and playing 2 PGs for a good portion of the game. This could make it a challenge for us to create turnovers. If they are able to negate our pressure that could make for a long night assuming we don't get crazy hot from the outside again. Regardless of the outcome i'm looking for our guys to compete the entire game. 

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aubearcat    169

With Wiley having more time with the team and our other two back from suspension, hopefully it'll be a great game from AUburn and a win. 

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jamstanjr    4
19 hours ago, JwgreDeux said:

My old coach would call this a yard stick game, how do we measure up

I would have to agree. Really hoping Brown can come in off the bench to bring the D on their 2 guard and Horace can be a presence underneath. He's our Dennis Rodman and his apology on Twitter yesterday seemed legit but hell, I'm easy. It is not I who can cast a stone in his direction. That's for certain, but rules are rules and "if you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough" and we already know he's tough. Another measuring stick will go up on Austin Wiley tonight. He'll be drinking from a fire hose, but I am a believer in this young man. 

Ready for some AU Hoops and would be OK to get the W with no buzzer beater this time!

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