Oklahoma basketball: Newcomers could make things different for Sooners this season
The additions of Amath M'Baye and Buddy Hield could propel Oklahoma to the 20-win mark.
NORMAN — Sam Grooms knows last year he said the team had its eyes on the NCAA Tournament.
Then the Sooners failed to finish and ended the season at 15-16.
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Now, in its second year under coach Lon Kruger, Oklahoma really does have its sights set on making it to March.
It's been four seasons since Blake Griffin led the team to the postseason, but this season could be different.
This season, Oklahoma has newcomers like Amath M'Baye and Buddy Hield.
“Last year when I said it, I was basing it off the fact that I believed in the guys and what we had and the work that we put in as a group,” Grooms said. “ Right now, I can see it because we have a lot deeper team.”
The Sooners are deeper athletically with the addition of junior transfer M'Baye. They have bigger guys — with six guys being 6-foot-8 and over. They also have a talented young defense with the addition of freshman guards like Hield and Isaiah Cousins.
All that will allow Oklahoma to hone its defensive play to finish more plays and, as Groom hopes, win more than 20 games.
That defense, senior Romero Osby said, is what Oklahoma is focusing on.
“It's a new feel,” Osby said.
The men's basketball team thinks the stronger defense will help them, especially when it comes to Big 12 season to guard more across the court — be more spread out, instead of being compressed and making it easier for the opponent to get to the basket.
Osby and Grooms credited that new feel and the better defense to experience, a full year with Kruger and, mainly, to the new guys.
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