The San Francisco airport is one of the more civilized places remaining in air travel. It is also where I am sitting, waiting on a flight while drinking in a bar in Terminal 2, while I write this preview. Because I have been bailing on Cody and Wescott this year, with my responsibilities, taking away from the time I can spend writing about basketball. Stuff like a suddenly robust work travel schedule as well as keeping a baby alive have really cut into the blogging time.
So consider this my penance. Because adult responsibility can suck it — this has been a philosophy that has served me well for 42 years.
Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns head out on the road this weekend for a rivalry game against an Oklahoma squad that I would have referred to as “reeling” if it hadn’t managed to win on the road at TCU over the weekend, breaking a five-game losing streak.
After a rollicking 11-1 start to the season during non-conference play, the Big 12 schedule has treated Lon Kruger’s team poorly. The Sooners are 4-9 in conference play, with all four wins coming against Oklahoma State and TCU.
What has been holding the Sooners back? Well, they seem to be having a hell of a time scoring during conference games. They are one of only two Big 12 teams that are scoring less than a point per possession in Big 12 games.
Senior guard Christian James is a capable shooter, but he hasn’t shot the ball well this year. Of course, on a given night he can, but he just hasn’t lived up to the unfair “next Buddy Hield” tag that was attached to him his freshman year; to be clear that was asking a lot.
OU does have some other guys who can shoot the ball: Brady Manek, Aaron Calixte, and Jamal Bieniemy have all stroked it well this year. Bieniemy played very well in the earlier matchup between these two teams, going 3-of-6 from long range. Also, his dad is someone who you are possibly familiar with.
Kruger also has some familiar players in Rashard Odomes, Kristian Doolittle, and the exceptionally bouncy Jamuni McNeace in the front court. It is a roster of guys who can play, but one that sometimes seems to lack the sort of creative play maker that the best offensive teams have.
The game tips in Norman on Saturday at 11 AM CST, and airs on ESPNU.