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BYU-Oklahoma Preview: Cougars Head to Norman for Tossup Game

BYU heads to Norman looking for a Quad One win.

Providence v Oklahoma Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

After a road win over West Virginia, BYU heads to Norman Tuesday looking for its first three-game winning streak of Big 12 play versus Oklahoma. This is a Quad One game for both teams. As of this publishing, early lines opened with BYU as a 1-point favorite.

If BYU can win this game, they’ll extend their winning streak to 3 games and have 3 games upcoming where they should be favored around double-digits in each one.

BYU and Oklahoma by the Numbers

OU Record: 16-6

KenPom: 25

NET: 32

Best Wins: Iowa (N), Providence (H), Arkansas (N), Iowa State (H), Cincinnati (A), Kansas State (A)

Losses: North Carolina (N), TCU (A), Kansas (A), Texas (H), Texas Tech (H), UCF (A)

BYU KenPom: 9

Net: 7

Record: 16-5

Best Wins: San Diego State (H), NC State (N), Arizona State (N), UCF (A), Iowa State (H), Texas (H)

Losses: Utah (A), Cincinnati (H), Baylor (A), Texas Tech (A), Houston (H)

KenPom Prediction: BYU 74, OU 73— BYU 53% win probability

Oklahoma Overview

The Sooners rose all the up to 7 in the AP Poll after a 10-0 start, but fell out of the rankings this week after a 10-week run. The Sooners are 4-5 in Big 12 play have lost 3 of their last 4, including 2 games at home.

The strength of this Sooners’ team is a 3-guard lineup that leads the scoring output and defends the three-point line. In Big 12 play, the Sooners are number in three-point defense and allow opponents to shoot 28% in conference play. OU is number 5 nationally in three-point defense.

The Sooners don’t play a ton of close games — their 4 conference wins have an average margin of 11.5 points and the 5 defeats 9.6 points. Their 1-point loss to Texas Tech is the only conference loss by fewer than 9 points.

The Sooners don’t have a huge frontcourt and don’t usually get a ton of scoring production from their big men. Their two centers they rotate are both 6-foot-10 and have different strengths, but aren’t huge focal points of the offense.

Things can change, but I expect Aly Khalifa to miss this game after not travelling to West Virginia as he deals with flu-like symptoms. I would really like this matchup for BYU with Aly and Fouss, but I think Fouss can have some success versus the Sooner frontcourt.

This Oklahoma team is very capable with good athletes and a backcourt with multiple scoring threats in the starting lineup and off the bench. However, they are probably in the bottom half of Big 12 teams in terms of talent — which is still really good!

Players to Watch

Javian McCollum, Guard — The 6-foot-2 guard leads the Sooners in scoring with 14.3 ppg. McCollum attacks the basket and shoots 91% from the foul line. He attempts nearly six threes a game, but is shooting just 33% from distance. OU in a lot of ways goes depending on how McCollum goes. In his last 4 games, he has three games with single digits and one game where he scored 21. OU lost the 3 games he scored single digits and he was combined 7-32 (22%). When he is on, McCollum collapses a defense and sets up open shooters.

Jalon Moore, Forward — At 6-foot-7 Moore is the Sooners’ starting four man. He averages 10.2 points and leads the team with 6 rebounds per game. Moore is an efficient scorer — he shoots 55% — and can cause mismatches at the four spot. He averages just 1.6 three-point attempts per game but shoots 41% from three.

Otega Oweh, Guard — The 6-foot-5 guard is second on the team in scoring with 13 ppg. Oweh is a strong and athletic guard that causes issues on both ends with his physicality. Oweh leads the team at just under two steals per game and draws a lot of fouls. He could give BYU’s backcourt issues depending on who he is guarding. Oweh shoots less than two threes per game but shoots 47% from distance.

Milos Uzan, Guard — Uzan was one of the top Big 12 freshman last year but has seen his efficiency dip as a sophomore. Uzan leads the team with 4.4 assists per game and averages 8.5 points on 38% shooting from the field and 29% from three. After scoring in double figures OU’s first three Big 12 games, he has only scored 10 points or more in 1 of the last 6.

Sam Godwin, Center — The 6-foot-10 big man is a 4-year player that has started every game at center for the Sooners. Godwin isn’t physically imposing at 235 pounds, but he is elite on the offensive glass. Godwin leads the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, and 3.2 of his 5.3 rebounds per game are on the offensive glass. Godwin averages 7.1 ppg in 18 minutes of action.

John Hugley, Center — OU’s other big man behind Godwin, Hugley comes off the bench and is a physical force at 6-foot-10 and 275 pounds. He also averages 18 minutes per game and averages 8.5 points on 56% shooting. While not a huge threat from outside, he is 11-28 from three on the season.

Prediction

No road game is easy, but this will probably be the least raucous road environment BYU has seen so far.

Oklahoma’s defense versus BYU’s backcourt is the main matchup I am watching. Dallin Hall is playing great and is coming off a 12 assist and 1 turnover performance versus WVU, and he’ll need to be great again if Aly Khalifa is indeed out. Oklahoma defends much better on the perimeter than the Mountaineers and they have big, physical guards that could get BYU out of rhythm. OU isn’t elite in many things, but they defend the three ball as well as anyone in the nation. I can see a scenario where OU forces BYU to start its offense further away from the basket and limits to amount of good looks BYU has in the frontcourt.

Offensively, BYU will need Fouss to have a nice game to take some pressure off the three-point line. I think Fouss can have some success against Godwin, but I worry how Fouss can do against a huge center like Hugley that is bigger than Fouss and won’t be overpowered.

Ultimately, I don’t think OU has quite enough firepower on offense, particularly from their bigs, and I think BYU has just enough more to win a close game on the road versus a Sooners team that is in a little bit of a slump.

Prediction: BYU 71, Oklahoma 69