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NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Kansas

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MBB Scouting Report: Oklahoma Sooners

SEC send-off party in Waco

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup: No. 25 Oklahoma (18-6 / 6-5) @ No. 12 Baylor (17-6 / 6-4)

Time: Tuesday, February 13, 2024, @ 8:00 PM CT

Place: Foster Pavilion, Waco, Texas

Where to Watch: ESPN2

Big Picture

The Oklahoma Sooners come in off a thrilling win against their in-state rival, the Cowboys (a game in which the Sooners were on the wrong end of an officiating performance eerily reminiscent of the Baylor v. Iowa State game; three very soft technical fouls [and a legitimate flagrant 1] were assessed against the home team, keeping the Pokes in it). They’ve won back-to-back games and 3 of their last 4 to get back above .500 in conference play.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears enter after an immensely frustrating loss in Lawrence which snapped their 3-game winning streak. The Bears will be looking to bounce back, if they are to have any hope of staying in contention near the top of the league standings.

The Bears have won 10 of the last 11 games in the series. The Sooners haven’t won in Waco since 2016 (a losing streak of 7).

Season Recap

Oklahoma’s best wins have come against BYU and Iowa State. Their losses have come against North Carolina, TCU, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, and UCF. The Sooners are 2-3 in road games this season.

The Sooners are No. 25 in the latest AP Poll. They’ve been in and out and all around the AP Top 25 this season including being as high as No. 7 back in December and out of the rankings completely last week before winning back-to-back games got them back in the good graces of the AP voters. KenPom has OU as the 24th best team in the nation while Evan Miya’s metric ranks them 27th nationally (Baylor is 15th and 18th respectively by each of those metrics).

Sooners’ Style

Oklahoma plays primarily man-to-man defense. Watch for them to trap ball screens (especially near the sideline). They apply a ton of ball pressure, extending their defense well beyond the 3P line.

cbbanalytics.com

The Sooners are middle-of-the-pack in the Big 12 in terms of offensive tempo. They’ve got guys to execute in transition but aren’t always looking to go quickly. They don’t take a ton of three-pointers, instead getting over 54% of their shot attempts in the paint or at the rim.

Sooners’ Strengths

  • Baylor fans love Davion “Off-Night” Mitchell. The Sooners’ entire defense is great at creating off-nights. They are 2nd among Big 12 teams and in the 98th percentile nationally in Opponent eFG%.
  • The Sooners are highly efficient on 2P shots (their 2P% is in the 93rd percentile nationally).
  • Oklahoma has great depth (over their last 5 games, they are 2nd among Big 12 teams in bench scoring, averaging over 25 points per game from reserve players).

Sooners’ Weaknesses

  • Oklahoma has struggled with turnovers this season (they are 11th among Big 12 teams in Turnover Rate).
  • The Sooners have not fared well when going up against good rim protectors (no team in the Big 12 allows more blocked shots than Oklahoma).
  • The ball sticks far too much in halfcourt sets for the Sooners, leading to more iso ball than they probably should be running (they have the 3rd lowest Assist Rate in the Big 12).

Players to Watch

Javian McCollum (Guard, No. 2, Junior, 6’2” 160 lbs.): 14.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 0.9 SPG on 42/32/93 splits. The Siena transfer is OU’s leading scorer. He has struggled from deep lately (his 3P% over the last 7 games is just 15.4%). He is at his most effective on the offensive end, typically looking to drive. He is a secondary ball-handler.

Milos Uzan (Guard, No. 12, Sophomore, 6’4” 190 lbs.): 8.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.5 APG, and 1.2 SPG on 39/29/68 splits. Uzan is the team leader in assists and is a true pass-first point guard. It probably doesn’t bother his coaches much that he doesn’t shoot that often (in games where he takes 7 or fewer shots, OU is 10-0; in games where he takes 12 or more shots, OU is 3-4).

Otega Oweh (Guard, No. 3, Sophomore, 6’5” 210 lbs.): 12.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, and 1.7 SPG on 51/46/66 splits. Oweh is an extremely athletic wing. He does a lot of his damage in transition (nearly 28% of his points come in the fastbreak). Play him to drive (over 70% of his shots are either in the paint or at the rim). He is the team leader in steals and can be a highly disruptive defender.

Jalon Moore (Forward, No. 14, Junior, 6’7” 220 lbs.): 10.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.0 BPG on 56/42/78 splits. The Georgia Tech transfer is the team leader in rebounding and blocked shots. Moore is arguably the team’s best two-way player. He gives great contributions on defense as he can switch pretty much 1-5. Offensively, he gets the strong majority (nearly 75%) of his shots in the paint or at the rim. He’s got a sweet jump hook. Over his last 4 games, he is averaging 14.8 PPG and 8.5 RPG on 61/57/74 splits.

Sam Godwin (Forward, No. 10, Senior, 6’9” 230 lbs.): 6.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 0.6 BPG on 63/NA/64 splits. The former Wofford transfer leads the Big 12 in offensive rebounds. He is on a bit of cold streak lately, averaging just 4.4 PGP and 4.9 RPG on 48/NA/54 splits over his last 8 games. Godwin gets over 43% of his scoring on second-chance points (98th percentile nationally) and in the 96th percentile nationally in FT Attempt Rate.

Le’Tre Darthard (Guard, No. 0, Senior, 6’4” 190 lbs.): 6.3 PPG on 38/36/67 splits. The Utah Valley transfer is the team’s most efficient high-volume 3P shooter. He is a sharpshooting specialist (over 75% of his shot attempts come from beyond the arc). He is much more effective on above-the-break three-pointers (converting over 46% of those shots).

Rivaldo Soares (Guard, No. 5, Senior, 6’6” 210 lbs.): 7.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.4 APG on 48/31/80 splits. The Oregon transfer is a versatile wing. He doesn’t take many shots but is an excellent defender and a glue guy coming off the bench for the Sooners. Over his last 5 games, he is averaging 12.0 PPG on 63/50/67 splits.

John Hugley IV (Forward, No. 1, Redshirt Junior, 6’9” 270 lbs.): 8.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 1.2 APG on 55/39/76 splits. The Pittsburgh transfer is the team’s leading scorer off the bench. Hugley is primarily the team’s backup big, but he has the range to shoot it from the perimeter. He’s also effective in short-roll sets and normal post-ups.

Predictions

Key(s) to the Game

  • Take care of the ball (the Bears are averaging nearly 13 turnovers per game over the last 8, after averaging just 7.3 TOPG over the 4 previous games). Baylor has to avoid the self-inflicted wounds that cost them the Kansas game.
  • Attack the rim (OU is as good as it gets at taking away three-pointers). Getting downhill and potentially getting to the free throw line early and often would be a huge boost for the Bears.

Player of the Game: Yves Missi (Baylor): Not only is Missi on an incredible hot streak, averaging 16.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 2.0 BPG on 65/NA/80 splits over his last 5 games, this could be a particularly good matchup for him. Both of Oklahoma’s primary big men, yield 3+ inches to Missi. Yves could have a field day finishing over smaller defenders or getting to the line.

Final Score: Baylor wins 72-63 (the Bears get back on track behind strong performances from Missi and Nunn; watch for Baylor to utilize a healthy amount of zone defense here; it won’t be a blowout because OU is too balanced and deep to let the game get totally away from them, but mark this down as the most comfortable win for Baylor in conference play thus far; Sic Em!)

Stats courtesy of cbbanalytics.com, sportsreference.com, kenpom.com, evanmiya.com, hoop-explorer.com, big12sports.com, ncaa.com.

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