January 19, 2010

Oklahoma gaining confidence

Oklahoma started the season at No. 17 in the AP poll, and with so much youth being counted on after the departures of both Blake and Taylor Griffin and Austen Johnson it just wasn't fair to the Sooners. After five non-conference losses and a blowout 31-point dismantling to open the Big 12 season at Baylor, the Sooners weren't anywhere near any poll and have basically been forgotten by the national conscience.

That, however, may be just what the doctor ordered in Norman. The talent at Oklahoma is without a doubt strong with three McDonald's All-Americans in the starting lineup, but all three - Willie Warren, Tommy Mason-Griffin and Tony Gallon - played in the game in the last two years yet all three are starting with Warren and Mason-Griffin averaging over 30 minutes per contest.

After the loss to Baylor, Oklahoma has won two straight over Oklahoma State and Missouri at home in impressive fashion, and the Sooners are doing it with a renewed defensive vigor.

"They've looked more determined. They've played better defense in the league," said A&M head coach Mark Turgeon. "Teams are shooting around 39 or 40 percent against them and teams were scoring a lot easier against them before the league started. They look like they're just mad at how everybody was telling them how underachieving they were playing."

The baby Sooners, OU starts two freshmen - Mason-Griffin and Gallon - and a sophomore in Warren, haven't been good away from Norman, however. All six of their losses have come away from home and OU is just 1-2 in true road games. The Sooners' lone road win was a 78-73 overtime affair at Utah.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!