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Power Lunch Chat with Ryan Aber at 11 a.m.

by Ryan Aber Published: March 5, 2014

OU beat writer Ryan Aber chatted with readers Wednesday. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

Mark 11:00 a.m. Has Ryan Spangler hit a wall? The rebounds are still there but OU's only offense seems to be jacking up (and mostly hitting) 3 pointers...
Ryan Aber 11:02 a.m. I don't think he's hit a wall. OU has gotten better at getting the the basket recently and that's taken away some offensive opportunities, plus Spangler has been going against the best centers in the league the last couple of games. Certainly OU's dependence on the 3 is an issue but it's become less so recently. I think Spangler will be in much better shape next year when he can shift to his natural position at the four.
Shaun 11:04 a.m. What is the Big 12 tiebreaker situation? What does OU have to do to finish second?
Ryan Aber 11:05 a.m. It's pretty simple. If OU wins out, they will finish in the No. 2 spot. They would either finish their alone or tied with Texas, who the Sooners swept. They could also go 1-1 and still finish second if Texas lost at Texas Tech (Can't imagine the Longhorns losing tonight to TCU)
Kyle 11:05 a.m. Do you think Flowers will be able to make an immediate impact?
Ryan Aber 11:08 a.m. I'm not sure he'll have much of an impact this year with Aaron Ripkowski still on the roster and Blake Bell getting plenty of chance to grab the tight end spot. But the Sooners did use Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski together quite a bit last year before the injury so Flowers could slide in where Ripkowski was. I do think he'll have a chance to be a big-impact guy in 2015 though when the Sooners need that top-flight fullback.
Jason 11:10 a.m. What do the Sooners need to do to move up to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament?
Ryan Aber 11:12 a.m. Most projections have them at a 4 right now so they're right there. I think they've got a solid chance to slide up a line with wins in the final two games of the regular season and with one win in the Big 12 Tournament. If that happens, they're likely to face Texas or Baylor in the semis. The Sooners swept both of those teams. A loss would still seem to give OU a chance at a 3 but a win would make it likely.
Karen 11:13 a.m. Does Lon Kruger have a chance to win national coach of the year honors?
Ryan Aber 11:15 a.m. I doubt it right now with the jobs that Gregg Marshall of Wichita State and Tony Bennett of Virginia are doing, among others, but the job Kruger's done has been remarkable. In my mind, he wrapped up the Big 12 coach of the year honors with Saturday's win over Texas. It was between him and Rick Barnes and Kruger's sweep of Barnes' Longhorns sealed the deal.
Mike 11:17 a.m. Who has been the most improved player on the Sooners since Big 12 play began?
Ryan Aber 11:19 a.m. That's tough. To me, it's got to be between Isaiah Cousins and Je'lon Hornbeak. Cousins has settled in as OU's No. 1 perimeter defender and he's been a big piece of the Sooners' recent defensive turnaround. Hornbeak has been really good off the bench for the Sooners in Big 12 play. Although Jordan Woodard has been fantastic for the most part, when he's struggled, they've been able to insert Hornbeak to run the point. He's handled that well and hit some big shots.
Steve 11:21 a.m. What is the biggest position battle to watch during spring football?
Ryan Aber 11:23 a.m. I'd have to go with the defensive backfield, with the spots of Gabe Lynn and Aaron Colvin up for grabs. They've got some talent back there but it's unproven and they lost a little bit of depth with L.J. Moore's departure. Second, I'd say offensive line. The guess is that Ty Darlington slides into the center spot vacated by Gabe Ikard but it could be someone else as well. The Sooners also have to fill the spot of Bronson Irwin.
Scott 11:26 a.m. If Trevor Knight struggles, does Blake Bell stay at TE or would he move back to QB?
Ryan Aber 11:27 a.m. I'd say they'll stick with Knight through ups and downs early. But if he gets hurt early, I think they'll move Bell back despite coaches saying the position change is permanent. If and injury happens later in the year, I bet it's Cody Thomas or Justice Hansen instead.
Joel 11:28 a.m. Was Trevor Knight's performance in the Sugar Bowl against Bama the greatest by any individual player in the Stoops' era?
Ryan Aber 11:29 a.m. They've had some good ones so not sure I'd quite go that far. But Knight's performance was certainly the most surprising. And I say that not because Knight hadn't done good things but what he did in the Sugar Bowl that was effective was so much different than what he'd done earlier in the season when he was effective.
Ryan Aber 11:30 a.m. All right, that's all for today. Thanks for joining us and we'll do it again next week as Oklahoma gets ready to play in the Big 12 Tournament.

by Ryan Aber
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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