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NCAA Basketball Tournament: Sooners' overhauled offense has North Dakota State coach's attention

North Dakota State basketball coach Saul Phillips is generally a high-energy guy. But his tone turns down a bit when he was asked about Oklahoma’s offense.
by Ryan Aber Published: March 19, 2014
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“That speaks well to their investment of time during the offseason or in practice early on,” Kruger said. “The result is largely because of the guys’ ability to make shots behind that attack. It’s one thing to just drive it, but if you can’t kick it and make shots, then defenses can play you a little bit softly or cheat a little bit. But with our ability to make shots on the perimeter, that combined with the driving has really paid off.”

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber saw that pay off in late February when the Sooners hit 10 3-pointers and made it to the free-throw line 26 times in a 13-point win over the Wildcats.

“What Lon did was very smart,” Weber said. “He’s really changed his whole offense. Some of it was his personnel, some of it was also, I think, he maybe looked at the rules. He went into a lot of the dribble drive to get to the basket and went to the free-throw line as much as anyone in the league. They put you in a bind.”

There was a price to be paid on the other end, though.

“We probably didn’t handle it as well defensively in terms of guarding the ball,” Kruger said. “I think we adjusted later in conference play.”

The Sooners have been much better defensively, but defense doesn’t figure to be much of a focus Thursday.

“There’s some weapons on that floor offensively,” Phillips said. “And you know what? It’s fun to watch those games. This could be exciting.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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