Dean Predicts OU-ISU Game & Says Big Men Are Key


Thursday, March 10th 2016, 4:48 pm
By: Dean Blevins


Thoughts before OU vs ISU in Big 12 Tourney Quarterfinals

  • The elephant in the room is whether Buddy Hield’s recent dip in play has opened the door enough for Denzel Valentine to be voted player of the year. Several prominent basketball people and broadcasters have gone on record in support of the versatile Michigan State star. I believe it will come down to which guy plays the best and which team plays best in their respective conference tournaments. Sparty and Valentine have an easier road to an extended Big 10 Tournament run which would assure them of an NCAA 1-seed. Oklahoma has the toughest opener and series of games I can remember for a team ranked No. 6 in the nation. Hield and the Sooners are definitely capable, but they’ll need to play better than what we’ve seen the last few weeks.

3/9/16 Related: Previewing OU vs ISU 

  • Hield’s major points of emphasis are avoiding over-dribbling, letting the game come to him, and being strong with the ball. If he does that against a strong ISU team that's not especially stout defensively, he should be fine.
  • Isaiah Cousins must immediately bounce back from a so-so game his last time out. If he plays with a clear head you know he has the heart to do what’s needed. But his confidence and play has been unsteady at times, and in what has evolved into a significant tournament opener Cousins must play to his potential.

3/2/16 Related: WATCH: Dean Goes 1-On-1 With Buddy Hield After Final Home Game

  • I believe the play of big men Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin will determine if OU advances and how far they advance here in KC. Spangler went for 20/12 when OU defeated ISU in Norman, but scored only two points when the Cyclones won in Ames. The rubber match requires some offense from him and his typical rough-and-tumble play and leadership.

  • Lattin simply can’t get into early foul trouble. He not only has some offense to contribute, but when he’s mentally into the game, his shot-blocking presence is exceptional. Playing just seven minutes due to unnecessary and excessive fouls was unacceptable in OU’s regular season finale/near-disaster at TCU.  Lattin’s a great young man with a great smile and attitude. But if he doesn’t come to play with his head screwed on against the Clones it will really put his team at a disadvantage.
  • Sooners are 4.5 point favorites, more than I expected and more than I would expected. ISU has always traveled extremely well to this event, and will do so again tonight. I expect a homecourt advantage for ISU of 4 or 5 to 1. 

  • But the Sooners and their fans have no right to be upset about either having the toughest assignment for any Top 20 team or for being at a fan disadvantage. It’s pretty simple: If they’d played better they’d be playing TCU and not the No. 19 team capable of a Final Four run. And they’ll sell tickets to OU fans just like they do those from Ames.
  • To quote a head ball coach with whom you are very familiar, ‘In the end’… I’m picking OU to win and advance. They were a little bit better with a late lead in the last game and I believe they’ll address this tournament as a ‘new season.’ It’s the great defensive teams that don’t give OU shooters ample separation for good looks from distance that bother me the most. And while I have the utmost respect for ISU as a team, I don’t view them as a team that will defend your every dribble, pass and shot – like Kansas. If they win, they’ll play the team that is getting to play TCU in the quarters. West Virginia actually is a team that defends second to only KU in the league. But the Sooners have found a way to sweep them so far this season. Hopefully, we can discuss this topic tomorrow, but you know the biggest key to OU’s outstanding win was in Morgantown? It’s one of my keys for tonight: Khadeem Lattin blocking shot after shot and being a force. And not sitting next to Daniel Harper and Lon Kruger. It’s hard to contribute from that seat.

Thanks for checking in and make sure to watch us at 5 and 6 and on Twitter, Facebook and every social network outlet God created!

  • Lattin simply can’t get into early foul trouble. He not only has some offense to contribute, but when he’s mentally into the game, his shot-blocking presence is exceptional. Playing just seven minutes due to unnecessary and excessive fouls was unacceptable in OU’s regular season finale/near-disaster at TCU.  Lattin’s a great young man with a great smile and attitude. But if he doesn’t come to play with his head screwed on against the Clones it will really put his team at a disadvantage.
  • Sooners are 4.5 point favorites, more than I expected and more than I would expected. ISU has always traveled extremely well to this event, and will do so again tonight. I expect a homecourt advantage for ISU of 4 or 5 to 1. 

#OU bigger fave than expected-or than I'd peg-at -4.5 over ISU, which will have 5-1 fan adv. Toughest Tourney opener for top team. @news9

— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) March 10, 2016

  • But the Sooners and their fans have no right to be upset about either having the toughest assignment for any Top 20 team or for being at a fan disadvantage. It’s pretty simple: If they’d played better they’d be playing TCU and not the No. 19 team capable of a Final Four run. And they’ll sell tickets to OU fans just like they do those from Ames.
  • To quote a head ball coach with whom you are very familiar, ‘In the end’… I’m picking OU to win and advance. They were a little bit better with a late lead in the last game and I believe they’ll address this tournament as a ‘new season.’ It’s the great defensive teams that don’t give OU shooters ample separation for good looks from distance that bother me the most. And while I have the utmost respect for ISU as a team, I don’t view them as a team that will defend your every dribble, pass and shot – like Kansas. If they win, they’ll play the team that is getting to play TCU in the quarters. West Virginia actually is a team that defends second to only KU in the league. But the Sooners have found a way to sweep them so far this season. Hopefully, we can discuss this topic tomorrow, but you know the biggest key to OU’s outstanding win was in Morgantown? It’s one of my keys for tonight: Khadeem Lattin blocking shot after shot and being a force. And not sitting next to Daniel Harper and Lon Kruger. It’s hard to contribute from that seat.

Thanks for checking in and make sure to watch us at 5 and 6 and on Twitter, Facebook and every social network outlet God created!

","published":"2016-03-10T22:48:48.000Z","updated":"2016-03-10T22:59:09.000Z","summary":"

Dean blogs about the upcoming Big 12 Tournament matchup between Oklahoma and Iowa State. 

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