Early this evening, the Kentucky Wildcats tee it up against the Oklahoma Soonersin Maui. In this article, we will take a look at the statistical comparison between the two teams.
Jeff Capel, former Duke Blue Devil, is the fifth-year coach of the Oklahoma Sooners Capel's coaching record is as follows, courtesy of Statsheet.com:
|Virginia Commonwealth||2002-2006||79-41 (0.658)|
Capel has been pretty successful at Oklahoma, but the program has come under NCAA taint because of allegations surrounding Tiny Gallon, who left for the NBA draft last year. The Sooners were a disappointing 13-18 last year despite having three players jump to the NBA, and some think that Jeff Capel's seat in Norman may be getting a bit warm.
Capel's team had a very high roster turnover last year. Follow me past the jump for details:
Major losses from last year:
|Tommy Mason-Griffin||5-11||206||Freshman||Lost starter|
|Tiny Gallon||6-9||296||Freshman||Lost starter|
|Willie Warren||6-4||203||Sophomore||Lost starter|
All three of these guys were high-school All-Americans, and all three of them opted for the NCAA draft. All three were impact players for the team last year, although Gallon's NCAA issues and chemistry problems really hurt the Crimson and Cream in 2009-10
Overall, the Sooners lost eight players last year to varying circumstances. They have added eight replacements, and here are the likely impact players among them:
|Nick Thompson||6-9||212||Junior||New (transfer) JUCO|
|Cameron Clark||6-6||195||Freshman||New (impact freshman)|
|Calvin Newell Jr.||6-1||201||Freshman||New|
|Romero Osby||6-8||247||Junior||New (transfer) Miss. St.|
Nick Thomson has been the most productive of the newcomers, with Cameron Clark right behind. Romero Osby played well at Mississippi St. for a couple of years, and should figure to have an impact on this team, although at the moment he is sitting out his year in residence and will not be playing for the Sooners this year.
The full roster with notes are below:
Oklahoma Sooners Basketball Roster
|Abdul Ahmed||12||F||Left team||207||6-10||freshman|
|Carl Blair Jr.||14||G||-||214||6-2||sophomore|
|Cameron Clark||21||G||Impact freshman||195||6-6||freshman|
|Cade Davis||34||G||Returning starter, leading ret. scorer & rebounder||206||6-5||senior|
|Andrew Fitzgerald||4||F||returning occasional starter||237||6-8||sophomore|
|T.J. Franklin||3||G||Returning player||174||5-11||junior|
|Kyle Hardrick||25||F||Returning player||219||6-8||sophomore|
|Barry Honore`||31||F||Returning player||262||6-7||junior|
|Calvin Newell Jr.||11||G||-||201||6-1||freshman|
|Romero Osby||24||F||Year in residence||247||6-8||junior|
|Steven Pledger||2||G||Returning occasional starter||206||6-4||sophomore|
|Ryan Randolph||22||G||Returning player||201||6-4||freshman|
Now, a look at who the two teams have played so far, via Kenpom.com:
|Date||Kenpom Opponent Rank||Opponent||Result||Kenpom rank||Notes||Location||Record|
|Fri Nov 12||321||Coppin St.||W, 77-57||64||
|Mon Nov 15||293||North Carolina Central||W, 71-63||70||OT||Home||2-0|
|Thu Nov 18||337||Texas Southern||W, 82-52||70||
|Fri Nov 12||100||East Tennessee St.||W, 88-65||72||
|Fri Nov 19||112||Portland||W, 79-48||61||
The first thing you'll notice is that Kentucky has played a far tougher schedule to date, and dispatched both opponents with relative ease. OU handled Coppin St. and Texas Southern with relative ease, but struggled with North Carolina Central due to poor shooting.
The Four Factors
Here's a look at the Four Factors to winning in this game, and how the Sooners and Wildcats stack up against each other. As you can see, the Wildcats have been shooting a significantly higher eFG%, as well as taking much better care of the basketball. Kentucky is even doing better on the offensive glass, and if there is one potential weakness of this Kentucky team, that should be it. The only one of the Four Factors where Oklahoma is clearly winning is on FTRate%, which measures how often you get to the line per field goal attempt, and the importance of that stat is minimized by Kentucky's high eFG%.
Overall, the Sooners play at a more deliberate pace than Kentucky does, and that makes sense given Kentucky's extremely athletic and skilled freshmen, and OU's less athletic squad.
Oklahoma is fairly dangerous from the perimeter, but they have yet to face an opponent ranked as high as the top 150 in the land, so it's difficult to say how much of that success has been due to the futility of their opponents. Oklahoma is not projected to do very well in the Big 12 this year, but this is a team that can improve and has some players that will give them a chance to win 16-18 games this season.
Unfortunately for Sooner fans, Oklahoma is mismatched against the Wildcats. For one thing, they are not big enough to provide a physical mismatch, and not athletic enough to keep up with the cheetah-like speed of the Kentucky Wildcats.
What Oklahoma has done well so far is get to the line, and if they can force Kentucky to foul them a lot, it would be a big benefit to them both in terms of easy points as well as putting the thin UK squad in a bind personnel wise.
Barring that, however, the Sooners are in tough versus the Wildcats, and they will have the devil of a time figuring out how to keep Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones from killing them at the rim, or from the perimeter, depending on how they choose to defend.