A recharged OU basketball team for Bedlam Round 2?

On3 imageby:Bob Przybylo02/23/24

BPrzybylo

The talk all week for OU basketball was about going on a mission. A mission to rest up, recharge, get better and ready for the stretch to come.

The Sooners, along with Kansas, finally got the mid-week bye in Big 12 play. And now? It’s back to action in a must-win Bedlam battle at Oklahoma State.

A lot of chatter about what this week has meant for OU. But what we’re going to find out is whether it really was that recharged week for the Sooners?

Will the OU team of the first couple of months storm into Stillwater and earn a win? Or is it still just a slow grind to get to the finish line?

How to watch

OU (18-8, 6-7) at Oklahoma State (12-14, 4-9)
When
: 3 p.m. Saturday
TV: ESPN2

As much physically, you hope OU was able to use this week mentally to get in a good space. Maybe to remind themselves about what they’ve accomplished instead of dwelling on the Big 12 grind.

“The focus is we’re just intentional about wanting to get better this week,” head coach Porter Moser said. “We wanted to get fresh. Fresh legs, fresh mind this week. We worked on skill. We worked on shooting, got recovery. And it was about us getting better the first couple of days.

“And then obviously we turned our focus to Oklahoma State and what we have to do to play well against them. But that was, and everybody goes through it. It’s a grind. But we were the last team in the Big 12 to get that bye week and it was coming at a good time. Getting fresh legs. Fresh mind. Skill work. Free throws. Shots. Reads on ball screens. A lot of skill work in practice, not as taxing on your body.”

Time for Northweather

There’s a difference in thinking and knowing. Now we know there won’t be John Hugley. Moser said Thursday night that Hugley underwent meniscus surgery earlier this week.

He’s out. No hedging. That’s clarity. And clarity that someone like Luke Northweather is going to be needed for more than spot-duty.

Last weekend vs. Kansas was a forgettable outing for Northweather. Recharge those batteries and get ready for Bedlam.

“Luke’s a guy that our whole team pulls for,” Moser said. “He’s a freshman. Trying to pour in confidence with him. He’s got a tremendous shot. But he can do some other things really well. He can pass. He has three assists in the last Oklahoma State game. So it’s just getting his confidence back.

“Now knowing that John is definitely out, there’s no him coming back in, we’re gonna need him to play.”

Waiting game with Soares

It doesn’t sound great, but the door isn’t closed for Rivaldo Soares. Another one of those reading between the lines deal.

Moser gave no update to Soares, saying Soares is day-to-day with the sprained left ankle.

“It was a bad sprain. We all saw it,” Moser said. “So we’re not gonna do anything to jeopardize it. It’s hard because when you talk to Waldo, he’s like, ‘I’m playing.’ He said that at the last game. We miss him. He was playing great on both ends. But we’ll see. It’s day by day. We’ve still got today and tomorrow. But that’s kind of where we’re at with it.”

Soares was around 50-60 percent, per Moser, last weekend. He has been the most consistent Sooner during the last month.

OSU turning it around

Ever since OU won 66-62 against OSU two weeks ago in Norman, the Cowboys haven’t lost. They earned their best win of the season, home vs. BYU. Then came right back and won on the road in Cincinnati.

OSU won’t just be filled with emotion and wanting to play spoiler. Right now? It is playing its best basketball of the season.

“They’re playing a lot faster,” Moser said. “They’ve added Keller to the rotation. He kind of started playing a lot of minutes in our game, and in the last two he’s playing tremendous. But they all are. I’ve said this all along, their guards of Wright and Small, Williams and Keller’s in that mix, I think Brandon Garrison’s playing really well. You look since our game, they beat BYU and on the road at Cincy.”

Final word

“What can we control? That’s the biggest thing, man, and it’s hard nowadays with all the outside noise, but for us, it’s what we can control, what we can do to get better. You know, I think the whole country saw there’s no better league than the Big 12. They should take 10 teams, and there’s no question about it. What we have to go through—there’s not a down night, and it’s just different. Just look at the numbers. We’ll address that when it comes, but for now, just control what we can control. That’s the game in front of us.” – Moser on Bracketology predictions

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