The OU basketball task? Handle success, handle Bedlam

On3 imageby:Bob Przybylo02/09/24


OK, we’re back again in this spot with OU basketball. There are two positions we keep alternating back and forth from.

There’s the much-needed victory when it has felt like the season is on the brink. And then there’s the backs against the wall after a rough loss and needing to bounce back.

OU played one of its best halves in a long time in the second half vs. BYU. It wasn’t just a 48-32 difference in the scoreboard. But an attitude and confidence from the Sooners once again.

Best win of the season, now what?

How to watch

Oklahoma State (10-13, 2-8) at OU (17-6, 5-5)
: 6 p.m. Saturday

OU simply hasn’t handled success too well this season. Never is there a better moment to change that narrative than with Round 1 of Bedlam coming up at the Lloyd Noble Center.

Be the team you believe you are once again and show the same urgency.

“You can’t let winning change that and it hasn’t,” head coach Porter Moser said. “It didn’t yesterday, we’re about to practice today. You just can’t let winning change your focus, your prep and especially in this league, the way it goes. So yeah, that’s been a focus, about how we handle a win.”

This will be game 24, and you start to wonder about a team’s identity. What makes the Sooners who they are at this point.

And you look for the common trends that explain why things have been so topsy turvy all conference season.

At least Moser has an idea of how this team gets clicking. Now we’ll just see if they can.

“For us, it starts with Jalon Moore and Rivaldo Soares, their energy level,” Moser said. “Los and Javian, those two guys are playing with really good energy in those games. Otega, he’s gotta be an elite defender for us. For our guys, (it’s about) that they’re on the same page defensively and we’ve gotta stack stops and not let it dictate our offense and everything.

“As far as any key, there’s not really one key. The guys know what we need to do defensively against Oklahoma State. They’ve got some outstanding guards. They’re big. Brandon (Garrison) had 20 against Kansas. Not a lot of bigs have done that against Kansas.”

Bedlam needs no explanation

Moser isn’t going to bring up his 1-9 record against OSU and Texas. But it sure sounded like Milos Uzan wanted to following Tuesday night’s game.

He remembers going 0-3 vs. the Cowboys last season. It might be going too far to say it’s the motivation Saturday, but embracing the Bedlam spirit will be huge.

“No, I mean they know the rivalry even though they weren’t here,” Moser said. “They know it. There’s been a lot of talk of it. They watched the lead up of the football Bedlam. They saw that. They weren’t naive and head in the sand when that was going on.

“So they definitely know about it. And so it’s a combination of that and to know that every game has a lot of stakes for us. And I think our guys are excited. They’ve got a lot to play for.”

You add in the celebration of Toby Keith’s life as well. It is going to be a night to remember at the LNC. All that’s left is for the Sooners to perform.

Garrison learning on the job

You want a wild card? Look no further than OSU freshman center Brandon Garrison. He is essentially learning on the job and getting better with each.

OU was in the running for the in-state star, but it was Mike Boynton and OSU that put in the work and got Garrison to campus.

What better way to show Moser what he’s missing than an elite outing in Bedlam.

“I’m not surprised and I am impressed,” Moser said. “I think they’ve done a great job skill development wise. I think he’s gotten stronger. You can just see his shoulders down there. And that’s what the joy of that he can do is freshmen play through mistakes.

“So what happens with the freshmen that do play? They get to play through mistakes and grow. And that’s what he’s doing. And so I hope he takes the night off because he’s doing great. But, you know, we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready for him. I mean, we know all about him. I mean, I think he’s a very good player. Guys have seen him on tape, seen him on TV, watched him and know what he can do, because he can do a lot.”

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