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Time to hoop

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Ready to talk hoops? Good.

It's January now. Football is over, for the most part. OSU still has a huge Fiesta Bowl battle to play vs Stanford. Time to turn our eyes to the hardwood full-time.

Before the season started, I was certain that Tulsa would have the best mens basketball team in the state. Doug Wojcik's squad has two 7-footers in Steven Idlet and Kodi Makuda, a skilled, experienced point guard in Jordan Clarkson and a sharp-shooting wing scorer in Scottie Haralson. Not to mention, young talent like Tim Peete and Eric McClellan.

But, Tulsa is 7-7 after beating TCU on Saturday night. Tulsa continues to have trouble making free throws and staying out of foul trouble. It's the same thing that plagued them last year. The difference this season and last season is the lack of a go-to scorer that Wojcik can rely on game in and game out.

Justin Hurtt was a 20 point scorer EVERY GAME last season. I thought Jordan Clarkson could become a guy that would give you 17+ points and 7 assists per game. Instead, he's around 15 and 2. I don't know what Steven Idlet's middle name is but I think it is ‘potential'. That's the word that has been stapled to his performances for his whole career. He's only producing 10 points per game.

THAT BEING SAID… TU can get on track at the free throw line, they can turn some early struggles into a charge at the CUSA title. They HAVE to make free throws.

Instead of TU, Oral Roberts is the team that has emerged, to me, as the top team in the state. Dominique Morrison is a legitimate scorer and plays good defense. Damen Bell-Holter is a big body that has become an above average scorer in the Summit League. Steven Roundtree is a rebounding machine at times and Warren Niles can shoot the lights out. Roderick Pearson is the perfect point guard for that system and Michael Craion is a jack of all trades.

ORU has already beaten Xavier, Missouri State and Texas Tech. They lost the season opener to West Virginia by five points in a game that Bell-Holter missed because of a back injury. They lost to Gonzaga by 6, but led by seven points in that game.

They have the pieces to win the conference in a landslide and get to the NCAA tournament. They are a very good basketball team with tremendous upside.

Oklahoma is better than last year with new head coach Lon Kruger. They beat ORU at home, but haven't played great competition. Oklahoma State has lost a lot of players and continues to come up just short. They beat SMU in a great game last week in Dallas but just lost to Virginia Tech at home on Saturday. They, much like OU, will have an uphill battle in Big 12 play.

Happy New Year. Let's hoop.

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