The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson took questions from readers in her Power Lunch Chat today. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A.
ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA:
What do you think of Charles Barkley's claim that the Thunder has zero chance of beating the Heat?
Well, I'm not sure it's zero chance, but recent history would suggest that the chances are slim that the Thunder could win a seven-game series.
The Heat have won the last six games against the Thunder, and in several of those games, the Heat have CLEARLY been the better team. And in the most recent game, it looked like the Thunder isn't any closer to figuring it out than ever before.
I wouldn't say the Thunder's chances are zero against the Heat, but if I had to put a percentage on the likelihood that the Thunder wins a series, right now it's only be about 10 or 20 percent.
What's the strategy (if any) involving technical fouls in the NBA when a superstar (KD) is getting closer to the limit for a suspension? Do you let it play out or try to get Ts in games you have wrapped up and serve the suspension for a meaningless game or do you just have to mind your Ps and Qs when it gets down to that last one and hope you can ride it out until the clock stars again in the playoffs?
KD is going to have to watch himself. He doesn't want to have to serve a suspension. The team doesn't want him to have to serve a suspension. But if he gets to the limit, he's going to have to sit.
KD's is going to have to be on his best behavior the rest of the regular season. He doesn't want to sit, and since no game in the NBA is a given — see, the Thunder's loss to Washington — he really needs to be available. And not being available because you're serving a suspension for technicals is the stupidest of reasons. He has to tone it down.
Even though the Heat won last Saturday against New York, it's obvious the Knicks have the pieces to beat them in a series because of a big man who can defend and score and scorers around the perimeter. Did the Thunder mess up not going after Jermaine O'Neal?
I'm not sure Jermaine O'Neal would have been the answer. He strikes me as a second-team guy, not an answer to winning a series in the NBA Finals.
Now, I do think the Thunder had a chance to go after a guy like Marcin Gortat. Ultimately, OKC didn't pull the trigger on that, but he strikes me as a guy who can score and defend. And defend both in the post and on the perimeter.
Honestly, though, I still think this roster has a chance to win a title. Yes, I said earlier that they'd struggle to beat the Heat, but if Scott Brooks would go small more, I think the Thunder would have a better chance against the Heat.
ON COLLEGE BASKETBALL:
Who do you like to win it all?
Gotta go with Kansas. The Jayhawk faithful will be in full effect in the tournament, especially with Missouri no longer in the mix. KU folks will buy a TON of tickets. That will give an already good team a big-time advantage. But I would love to see a KU-OSU rubber match. What a great game that would be.
Can Baylor make it in without winning the tourney?
Sure doesn't look like it. Baylor just doesn't have enough wins (17-13 and 8-9 in conference play) or enough quality wins to get there. Joe Lunardi has the Bears among his first eight out but not among his first four out of the tournament. And heck, if Iowa State has been teetering on the bubble, I have a hard time believing Baylor is going to get in without winning the Big 12 Tournament.
Some of us would rather see a rubber match between Kansas and OU at Big 12 final.
A fair point. Thing is, those KU-OSU games were BOTH so good. The KU-OU game in Lawrence was largely a clunker for the Sooners.
After OSU beat KU, I was prepared for the game in Stillwater to be a letdown. While it wasn't the best played game of all time, it sure was entertaining. I'd take another game between those teams any day.
The Cowboys last night looked like the Desmond Mason Cowboys of old (late starters). The early shots didn't fall and the shots late were all short. I think they fought so hard to come back they had no legs like the 2000 game vs. Florida.
Do you think that's just a one-game thing or is it the team just showing signs of wear on the year? Sure hate to see the team tired when one of the biggest games of the year is looming in Kansas State.
I thought they came out a bit flat, too. Especially on defense. I just didn't see them closing out on guys like they needed to. Maybe the juice inside the arena — it was pretty crazy in there — zapped them a bit, I'm not sure. But I really thought they'd come out more amped than they did. That was a game with pretty big stakes, after all. ...
That said, I wouldn't be too worried about dead legs. Sure, we're late in the season, but it's not like what we saw last night was a four- or five-game trend. And remember, everybody is a bit tired this time of year. OSU plays enough guys that I'm not really worried that they have a bunch of dead legs.
ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
Does the announcement that Onuoha has moved to OLB pretty much solidify the switch to a 3-4 for OU?
The evidence is surely mounting that OU is making the switch. Onuoha's move is just the latest piece that indicates as much. Frankly, I think it's a great deal for Onuoha. He is a project guy who is likely going to be at his best pinning his ears back and going after the guy with the ball.
I realize that playing linebacker is about more than that, but I think that Onuoha's speed might just lend itself to him being really productive at that position.