The Oklahoman's Stephanie Kuzydym took questions from readers in today's OU Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's look at today's Q&A.
Is OU safely in the Big Dance?
No, they aren't. If they don't win a game in these next three, they could easily be out — especially if they lose to TCU at TCU. Iowa State is more on the edge because of their loss to Tech earlier in the season. Right now, Oklahoma's only 'bad loss' is the one to Texas — and if you really look at that with Kabongo back Texas is a MUCH improved team. But if you add ones to Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU in then you've got a resume that isn't as strong that you're handing to the tournament. That loss to Gonzaga doesn't look bad on the resume. And even the one to SFA isn't so bad because they've been a solid team this year. So they won't be safely in the Big Dance until these three remaining regular season games are over — and then really, it's all up to the committee.
What is the pulse of the OU basketball team after the collapse against Texas? Do you see a skid coming?
The team was back to normal post-practice yesterday. While they work hard in practice, they know how to smile and joke and keep a good team spirit after. They've recently been watching a little one-on-one where freshman Steve Noworyta takes on another guy. First it was M'Baye, yesterday it was Ryan Spangler. The rest of the team sits around and commentates and goes crazy when somebody does a spin move.
The team knows that they collapsed those last seven minutes. They also know they played 32 minutes of solid ball that led them to a 22-point lead. It's those first 32 that they are going to try and replicate and the last 7 that they are going to try and learn from. I could see them losing to Iowa State just because the Cyclones are so solid from beyond the arc and Oklahoma isn't the strongest at defending that, but I think they'll be OK besides that.
Will Hield be back for the Big XII tournament?
I don't believe that 4-to-6 weeks is going to hold true for Hield. He was already back to driving to the basket yesterday. Sure, there was nobody around him because he was practicing on the hoop at the opposite end from the team, but in 2.5 weeks — he's gone from surgery to basically being back to normal. I talked with him Tuesday and he said the next step is running, which OU athletics trainer Alex Brown seemed to some what allow him to do with running toward the hoop.
Alex and James Fraschilla are constantly working with Buddy, rebounding him the ball and stuff. At the rate he's going, he could be back for West Virginia — all he needs to hear is that Kruger is OK with it. He really wants to be back out there. That's really all he talks about.
What are the chances Knight, Thompson, or even Thomas play next year instead of Bell?
From what I've seen and heard, high. Blake Bell can definitely do more than just run the ball. He can throw it. He was a throwing quarterback in high school. But if a guy like Thompson or Thomas or Knight has better precision, makes the reads better or whatever then I can see them at the QB spot.
It will definitely start out with Bell though. I think Cody Thomas may need a little more time but when I watched him play in Texas, he brought his team back, he had a strong arm, he was patient, he was a force on the field and here's the kicker — he moved his feet.
Do you think Alex Ross will get some playing time next year?
I think so but he will be behind Damien Williams and Brennan Clay. However, we've all seen how easy RB have been injured for Oklahoma these past couple years. He's known for his speed too. Can you imagine having two Damien Williams-esque players to go to?
With OU's new hires on the football staff, has there already been some buzz with recruits from next February's signing class?
Yes. The recruits who have tweeted about it have genuinely seemed excited and people who have known Montgomery have said he relates to recruits really well because of his age. Even Montgomery said that. He seems like a guy they can relate to better.