Sherri…

http://www.soonersports.com/mediaPortal/player.dbml?ATCLID=210737389&SPSID=750397&SPID=127261&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=31000&id=5067303

First off, the above link comes with a PG warning…It is ugly. For those in a hurry, let me speed up the process by telling you the link is the airing of Sherri Coale’s post-game press conference following the OU-Baylor game.  It was as intense a post-game show as I have ever seen.  In short, Sherri tore her team a new one.

While I am not a huge women’s basketball fan, I am an OU and Sherri Coale fan. You see I came to know Sherri back when she was at Norman High School.  Sherri was simply one of the best high school coaches (male or female) that I had ever seen.

As for basketball, Sherri’s “in your face” style made the opposition look like girl’s teams in those days. Tony Robinson, the Norman High School boys coach would have his team scrimmage Sherri’s teams.  Those games were unbelievably physical.

Both Norman High School teams improved from these encounters and both the NHS boys and girls won state championships during this time. It was the golden age of Norman High School basketball.  As we know Sherri parlayed this career to become the head coach at OU after the program had been dropped by Donny Duncan.

Like most college players Sherri probably majored in basketball in college with possible minors in English and Psychology. As a high school English teacher, she learned the art of articulating her message to her players, the press and fans.   She uses her Psychology background to play mind games with these same groups.

A few weeks back OU lost to OSU by thirty in Stillwater and Sherry went off. Three days later the Sooners beat Texas Tech by forty.  After her latest tirade her Sooners beat Iowa State by thirty on Saturday.

Here’s the bottom line…By using reverse psychology on her players Sherry is setting up OSU for a big fall un the Big 12 tournament.  She is also sending a message to this year’s starters.  Get better or get gone.

Waiting in the wings for next year Sherri Coale team are players ranked #12 and #60 in the country. The 12th best player in next year’s class is a five star 6’9”post player.   Sherri has a commitment from the 29th best player for the following year as well.  If these players materialize as expected OU women’s basketball will be back on top and yes like most OU out-fronters I will be right out front with them.

In the short term I expect Sheri’s Sooners to dispatch of the Cowgirls in the Big 12 tournament as she awaits better times for her Sooner teams in future years…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

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Rushing the court…

I have to admit that after bad losses at K-State, KU at home and Tech on the road, It looked as if the Sooner season was headed south in a hurry.  While Lon Kruger has probably forgotten more basketball that I will ever know I have seen a few train wrecks on t.v. and what I saw in Lubbock was the real deal.

OU was set up for a loss on the road in Morgantown and most of us expected the slide to continue. If the Sooners lose to the 10th ranked West Virginia as expected the Sooners would likely continue the slide into a late 2nd or even 3rd seed in the NCAA tournament.

Some Sooner fans dismissed this fact, but the truth of the matter is that seeding matters. In today’s computerized world, the NCAA Selection Committee seldom gets these things wrong.  When you pencil in your March Madness bracket you can win the office pool by picking the top seeds.  Upsets happen, but seldom to top four seeds.   Number one seeds almost always end up in the elite eight with a chance to move onto the final four.

I don’t know about you, but OU basketball has made January and February, the most miserable months of the year, bearable and I would like this trend to continue for years to come.

Looking back we should has seen this coming as OU has the worst gym in the Big 12 for a home court advantage. Students are sequestered miles from the court and have very little impact on the game.  Kansas must have felt like they were playing on a neutral court after playing their home games in Phogg-Allen.

Coincidentally, K-State and Texas Tech make sure their students are seated court-side to ensure a home court advantage as well. The results in all of these games were predictable. Three losses….

Finally, let’s cut to the chase…

First give Lon Kruger credit for righting the ship…Saturday’s win at West Virginia was huge…Now the Sooners have a legitimate shot at ending the regular season on a high note. After the Big 12 tournament which will have little, if any impact on the tournament seeding process the Sooners will play its first two tournament games in OKC.

After that the tournament will move to neutral sites where home cooking that has beset the Sooners this year will be a distant memory.  With OU’s improved post play, this Sooner team has a better than average shot of moving to the elite 8 and possibly the final four.

Finally, it is time for OU leaders to reward Lon Kruger with a home court advantage of his own. Use some of the donor money being generated by stadium renovations to build a new arena within walking distance of student housing.    Build the arena with a home court and student section in mind.

Then the next time the Sooners beat KU at home, let the students rush the court…

Boomer Sooner…

This one hurts…

First off, the OU basketball team loses at home in front of a national Game-Day audience; in doing so the Sooners are now looking at a struggle here at the end to lock up a #2 national seed…

At the same time before spoiled OU fans bow out, we need to remember that OU should have won that game on Saturday.  If the Sooners box out on the second KU free-throw late in the game, OU wins going away.  That did not happen and as they say the rest is history.  Sometimes basketball is like football, a game on inches…One rebound and Sooner fans are celebrating a big time win and a #1 national seed.

What now…

First off, OU and Sooner fans need to circle the wagons and realize that this is still a very good OU basketball team. Secondly, we have to admit that man-child Buddy Hield got outplayed by a Devonte’ Graham, a player that two years ago was languishing away at Appalachian State…

Also, I love Lon Kruger as much as the next guy, but he got out-coached by Bill Self. Hate the guy, but Self can flat out coach. The good news is that I don’t see Buddy Hield and Lon Kruger having off nights on the same day again this year.

Where do we go from here…

    1. Keep in mind that the Big 12 is the premier basketball conference in America this year. The selection committee will see it that way on Selection Sunday and reward the Sooners…That is if, OU rights the ship
    2. OU has a tough stretch of games here at the end with road games at West Virginia, Texas and a much improved Texas Tech. Figure out a way to win two of three and we will be fine.
    3. Get to the Big 12 tournament finals…Regardless of how that turns out, the Sooners will get the top #2 seed (or the 5th overall) in the March Madness tournament.
    4. Get Buddy Hield some mental rehab.  He is pressing…Lon needs to hook him up with a co-ed to take his mind off basketball and the burden of stardom. A dinner and a movie could work wonders for this guy…
    5. Lon needs to watch a ton of KU tape to figure out how to beat KU. Hopefully, the next time we play these guys will be in the finals of NCAA tournament.
    6. If this happens, I like OU’s chances…Beating a team three times in one season is next to impossible. If you don’t believe me; ask the 1988 OU team led by Wayman Tisdale. The Sooners lost to an eleven loss KU team in the finals that year after pasting them twice earlier in the season..   

Finally, I still think this is a special OU team and with that being said, I like OU’s chances of turning this thing around and getting to the final four.   Let’s hope that the next time we see the Jayhawks is Monday night April 4th.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Recruiting summary for 2016…

Please indulge me for one more “back in the day” story.   In the mid-seventies I was stationed on the east coast some 1500 miles from real football.   In those days, there was no ESPN or recruiting service to keep college football junkies like me up to snuff.  At that time computers were the size of houses so having one in the home was light years away.  The Washington Post had no clue about the college game.   In other words, I was stuck in college football’s wasteland.

Then Joe Terranova and my mom came to the rescue. First, my mom understanding my plight and my love for OU football would cut out the letter of intent lists from the local newspaper and send them to me via snail mail. It took a while, but it was worth the wait as I would pore over these lists for hours.

Next, came Joe Terranova.   Terranova, out of Dearborn, Michigan was the first college football recruiting junky to compose recruiting rankings for college teams.   Each March he would send out a pamphlet with the nation’s top ranked teams to hungry subscribers.

Of course the decade of the seventies was right smack in the middle of Barry Switzer’s heyday so the Sooners were prominently mentioned. While I miss the Christmas Day effect of those times, I do appreciate today’s computerized world where recruiting coverage has become spot on…

After poring over this year’s recruiting lists, this is what I have surmised from this recruiting cycle…

1st There are three new players in Texas recruiting these days. Baylor, TCU and even Houston have joined the party.  Texas is back in a big way and A&M continues its SEC-hype.   The state has become increasingly hostile territory for OU and OSU.  OU has figured this thing out and is thankfully going elsewhere for the nation’s best players. Smart move…

2nd Oklahoma high school is good, but not great. Consider this; there are 3 million people living in all of Oklahoma.  There are twice that many living in the Dallas Metroplex alone.  OU must cherry pick Oklahoma and look elsewhere for difference makers.

3rd The SEC will continue to dominate college football with its recruiting classes that are strong top to bottom. The other power conferences tend to be strong at the top, but average after that.

4th I envision that this fact will allow the Big 12 to make inroads here…Recruiting trends now see a revitalized Texas team to go along with an OU team that will continue to improve. Mix in a good dose of Baylor and TCU and you have the makings of the nation’s 3rd best conference.

5th I see a descending OSU program. The Cowboys benefitted from the T. Boone rush for a while, but now other schools have caught up with them in the facilities war.  Recruiting big time players to the pig sty called Stillwater can’t be easy.

Scout.com Big 12 Conference rankings…

1….Texas (8)

2….TCU (16)

3….Baylor (19)

4….OU (20)

5….Texas Tech (30)

6….West Virginia (34)

7….OSU (43)

8….Iowa State (46)

9….Kansas State (72)

10..Kansas (94)

Rivals, ESPN, Scout, 247sports, composite rankings…

    1. Alabama
    2. Florida State
    3. Ohio State
    4. LSU
    5. Michigan
    6. Ole Miss
    7. Georgia
    8. Clemson
    9. USC
    10. Auburn
    11. Texas
    12. UCLA
    13. Florida
    14. Notre Dame
    15. Tennessee
    16. Stanford
    17. Baylor
    18. Texas A&M
    19. Michigan State
    20. Oklahoma
    21. TCU
    22. Penn State
    23. Miami
    24. North Carolina
    25. Nebraska

Let’s stick a fork in one-and-done…

As you know I hate one-and-done college basketball. Players are recruited to a basketball program with the understanding that they will play one season and then move on to the pros.

Call me old fashioned, but still believe that kids should go to college to get an education and not just to play a game.   Institutions of higher learning should be places that value the academic side of life.  James Naismith never intended for colleges to be farm teams for professional basketball.

These one-and-don’t players are sold a bill of goods by snake oil salesmen masquerading as college coaches. Basically, these players make it to class for one semester in order to establish eligibility and then make cameo appearances during the spring semester.  By the time basketball season is over in March these guys have checked out.

Calipari at Kentucky and Travis Ford at OSU have led the charge for the one-and-done movement. Fortunately for the grand old game, the self-absorbed one-and-done coaches have not gotten their way.  Last Saturday Kentucky lost to KU and OU beat LSU with its one-and-done star Ben Simmons.

A few years ago I thought we could stick a fork in the college basketball game… How could a Lon Kruger-type team compete with a bunch of NBA players? Simply put, it took a while, but it appears that we may get the game back.

Lovers of the college game owe coaches like Lon Kruger thanks for saving the game. This OU team reminds me of the Hoosiers team made famous by the silver screen.

As so often happens in life, good finds a way to conquer evil. This is one of those times as the basketball gods have seen to it that the self-indulged one-and-done crowd takes a back seat.

Here’s hope that OU can stick a fork in the one-and-done game…

Boomer Sooner…