NORMAN — Buddy Hield is pretty clear about his thoughts on flying.
“I'm not a person who likes planes a lot,” Hield said. “I'm scared of planes.”
So Hield did not have a particularly good last few days.
Oklahoma's men's basketball team was delayed leaving Oklahoma City on Tuesday, the day before playing at West Virginia. The Sooners were diverted to New Jersey for a night. Then they didn't get to the arena in Morgantown, W.Va., until less than two hours before tip.
Then they couldn't leave Wednesday night due to regulations limiting the amount of hours pilots can work in one day.
Instead of practicing Thursday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center, the team was finally boarding a plane back home.
They lost at West Virginia, then lost a day of practice afterward.
That's no excuse, Sooners coach Lon Kruger said, for Saturday's home game against Baylor (6:05 p.m., ESPN2).
“It's something that you just say, ‘Hey, we don't get any advantage. We don't get a head start because we had a tough travel,'” Kruger said. “We have to forget about it. We have to line up and play.”
Oklahoma has dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season. The Sooners beat Baylor 66-64 on Jan. 18 in Waco, Texas.
While one day of practice was eliminated by the travel delays, OU did manage to get some preparation in Thursday, watching film of the Bears.
“Fortunately we've played them once already and I think that helps,” Kruger said. “If it'd been a first-time prep, players aren't as familiar (but) second time around, it's a bonus. Not that we wouldn't have liked to have that day, but we're not going to worry about it.”
The entire traveling party had it bad, but perhaps no one had it as rough as Hield.
During Wednesday's game, Hield took a shot from West Virginia guard Juwan Staten that knocked one of his front teeth loose.
Hield, who wears braces, had an even longer day than most of his teammates when the team finally returned.
Hield went straight from the airport to a dentist, where he underwent two root canals.
The sophomore guard wasn't happy about the dental work.
“We all learned from it,” Hield said. “That's life sometimes. Sometimes you face adversity.”
Still, Baylor's zone defense isn't exactly easy to prepare for, and the Sooners could've used the extra day of practice.
“They're pretty long and athletic,” Hield said. “We've got to do a good job boxing them out and just doing what we do best — running out and trying to make them play our game.”