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OU basketball: Sooners still looking for a defense that works

Man-to-man defense has been a big part of coach Lon Kruger's teams, but this season he's tried just about everything to improve OU. The Sooners will get a big test at 11 a.m. Saturday against unbeaten Iowa State.
by Ryan Aber Published: January 10, 2014

NORMAN — Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger is perplexed by his team's defense.

“I don't know that we've had a team quite like this that we've bounced around so much and at this point in the season don't really have a positive defensive identity,” Kruger said. “We've got an identity, it's just not a positive one right now.”

Coming off a Wednesday loss to Kansas, the Sooners' defense gets probably its biggest challenge of the season so far at home against Iowa State at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Man-to-man defense has been a big part of Kruger's teams, but this season he's tried just about everything to improve the Sooners.

They've tried several different zone looks and presses but have yet to find something that clicked.

That's not something that Kruger has done much of in the past, even when the defense was struggling.

“Sometimes you hesitate to do that because you kind of let them off the hook,” Kruger said. “In the past, we've played almost all man because we've always had the attitude of, ‘Let's guard them and not have any out. We've got to guard them.' This year, we just weren't, so if we're not going to, we need to try something else.

“We haven't liked that either so we're kind of in the middle ground right now searching.”

The Cyclones are 14-0 and one of the few teams nationally that have been better than the Sooners offensively.

Iowa State is tied with the Sooners in scoring, averaging 87 points per game. The Cyclones' offensive efficiency has been slightly better.

According to Ken Pomeroy's adjusted offensive efficiency statistic, which estimates points scored per 100 possessions against an average Division I defense, Iowa State's offense is No. 9 in the country while OU's is No. 12.

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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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