By John Shinn
CNHI News Service
It’s been two games since Oklahoma freshman guard Buddy Hield limped off the court with a broken bone in his right foot. The Sooners have gone 1-1 in the games since, losing in overtime at Oklahoma State this past Saturday and picking up a convincing 86-71 victory at Texas Tech Wednesday.
Points haven’t been an issue since Hield’s injury, but a strong case can be made that the Sooners have become a much more offensive minded team without him.
They’ve averaged 79.5 points in the last two games. (That doesn’t count the six points OU scored in overtime in the 84-79 loss to Oklahoma State.) The Sooners have also shot 50.4 percent from the field and are 14-for-32 from 3-point range.
Before anyone gets to thinking OU’s been better since Hield’s injury. OU defensive efficiency — especially on the perimeter — has dropped.
An opposing guards have had huge games in OU’s last two efforts. Marcus Smart scored 28 points for OSU and Texas Tech’s Josh Gray went off for 26.
Hield had been OU’s best perimeter defender this season, often drawing opponents’ best perimeter scorer.
It will be interesting to see how OU coach Lon Kruger matches up with Baylor on Saturday. OU won the Jan. 30 meeting against the Bears in Waco, Texas, because it shot the ball well and kept Baylor from finding any offensive rhythm in the first half.
Hield was a big part of that defensive effort.
OU’s hasn’t shown it can match that type of defensive play without Hield in the lineup. Because of that, all signs point to Saturday’s game at Lloyd Noble Center being a very high-scoring game. The Sooners will likely need it to be that way to win.