Oklahoma Looking For More Progress Against A Potential March Cinderella
WHO: Ball State Cardinals (0-1)
WHEN: Wednesday, November 15th @ 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: Norman, Oklahoma
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
SCOUTING Ball State: Unlike Omaha, Ball State is a small-school team that could ruin someone’s night. The Cardinals traveled to perennial NCAA Tournament darling, Dayton, and gave the Flyers everything they could handle. Dayton needed a last-second shot to escape a season and home-opening loss.
Junior point guard Tayler Parsons returns for a Ball State team that has won the MAC Western division the last two years. Parsons led the Cardinals in scoring in 2016-2017 and continued that in the season opener against Dayton as he and Thajai Teague scored 14 points. Parsons is joined by Teague as impact players on the Ball State roster. Teague is a 6’8″ stretch forward that shot over 50% from the floor last season and over 40% from three. Another name to watch is Trey Moses. Moses was an all-MAC 1st-team defensive player last season that averaged 8.2 rebounds per game and just over a block a game. The 6’9″ center has been dealing with a preseason injury and only played 11 minutes against Dayton.
The Cardinals present an early season issue for Oklahoma as their roster is full of players with meaningful experience. They return six players who played in 33 or more games last season, including Trey Moses who is coming off the bench right now after starting last season. This was a problem against Texas-Arlington in the Hurricane Harvey Relief Game as the Mavericks were able to overwhelm Oklahoma with solid defense and solid shot selection for much of the game.
Some would see this as another tune-up game before Oklahoma travels to Portland for the PK80 Invitational, but they must be ready to play at a high level if they want to win. Ball State presents a unique matchup as they line up against Oklahoma as well as anyone they will play this year. Coach Whitford will want his team to slow down the pace and control the clock at times, but they have the capability of running with Lon Kruger’s bunch if needed be. The Sooners are the deeper, more athletic team, but this game presents an early season challenge that could go a long ways of Oklahoma figuring out their true identity in 2017-2018.