The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off an 11-day hiatus after losing their third game of the basketball season, to Stephen F. Austin, on Dec. 18.
The last time OU had an 11-day break, the Sooners played exactly like Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger hoped — aggressive and physical — on its way to a 10-point victory against Texas A&M.
Now, the Sooners haven't played since that loss to Stephen F. Austin. On Saturday, they'll take on Ohio, a Sweet Sixteen team last season.
Romero Osby said the practice and a long talk after that loss has helped the Sooners figure out some things on the defensive end.
Did you guys talk about what happened against Stephen F. Austin?
“We did that the day after Stephen F. Austin — just talked about some things we needed to do better and do better as a team and get better at. We just kind of used those four days off to get our minds cleared, get away from basketball and come back strong the day of Christmas.”
Was it an open discussion?
“It was an open discussion just about the team. Everybody's frustrated with losing, of course. At the same time, we don't take our frustrations out on each other. We realize it is a team effort. We weren't doing things well as a team, so it's something we need to correct.”
That first day back at practice, what was the atmosphere like?
“It was Christmas Day, and everybody was well-rested from being back with their families, but they knew we had to get back to business. So it was kind of all business.
“It was one of those practice that was intense, but we didn't go too, too long because it was Christmas Day. It was just one of those practices where we tried to get as much out of it as we could.”
How has Amath M'Baye looked?
“Amath has looked really good. He's been staying aggressive and staying after practice and getting those shots. He looks to be real confident, and I think he's going to come out of that funk that he's been in and play better. It's just a matter of time, because he does work hard and he's really talented.”
Have you talked with him at all about that funk? Do you think it's partly because his mom was here in the very beginning but now she's back in France?
“I don't know. I haven't really talked with him about that personally, but you know that could have an effect on him. He probably does miss his mom, but I don't think that probably has anything to do with his game. He's played well and she hasn't been around all this time.
“He knows what he needs to do, and nobody's more frustrated about the way he's playing then he is. so I try to stay away and make sure I don't be that nagging-in-the-ear guy. I just let him play. I know him. He's a good player. He works so hard, and he's going to come out on top.”
Looking ahead to Ohio, what do you see?
“They're a really good team. They're not to be taking lightly. They were in the Sweet 16 last year, and this year they've got a lot of the same guys. I'm just expecting us to go out there and play as hard as we can play, be physical and try to come out with the W on our own floor against a really good team.”