The Sooners needed to get better defensively. Senior forward Romero Osby knew in November his team would be in trouble come Big 12 season if they didn't start to become more aggressive. The loss to Gonzaga told him so. Then the loss to Arkansas, in which Oklahoma continued to be fouled hard with little retaliation, confirmed any remaining suspicions Osby had.
There remained doubt, too, that Oklahoma's first victory against West Virginia — which came in the Old Spice Classic at the end of November — was just a lucky win from a team that decided to be aggressive after being beat soundly in the previous game.
Then the Sooners beat the Mountaineers on the road to move themselves to No. 2 in the conference standings.
Two days before leaving for Morgantown, W. Va., the thunder of hands and the shouts of five starters rang through the practice gym at Lloyd Noble Center.
Left up to M'Baye and Osby, that ringing — and the physicality that comes with it — will remain for the rest of conference season.