Sooner Hoops: Previewing Saturday's Clash With Ben Simmons & LSU

Friday, January 29th 2016, 11:27 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

The top-ranked Sooners will be participating in a non conference game in January, and to the joy of all college basketball fans, that game will come against likely No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and his LSU Tigers. This Big 12/SEC matchup is set to tip at 4 p.m. as the first part of an ESPN double-header that will feature No. 4 Kansas and No. 20 Kentucky immediately following the OU/LSU game.

Here are a couple of headlines to know going into the game:

Ben vs Buddy

It’s been the talk of the nation this week, but the matchup between LSU’s Simmons and OU’s Buddy Hield will be the focus of many throughout the game. Both players are the top candidates to win the POY award at the end of the season, and Saturday’s matchup may help make that decision a bit easier for those watching.

Simmons is averaging 19.8 points per contest on 55.3 percent field goal shooting. What makes Simmons so unique is his playmaking ability, and his 4.8 assists per game can attest to that, so the Sooners will need to find a way to contain him. Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger announced Ryan Spangler will have the first shot at guarding Simmons, so it’ll be interesting to see how Spangler responds to that daunting task.

One would think that if Hield starts to catch fire, that Simmons would have to see some time guarding the star senior. That type of matchup would grab the attention of many, especially the NBA scouts that will likely be in Baton Rouge to watch for themselves.  

Big 12 vs SEC

Many experts throughout the country believe the Big 12 is the best basketball conference with the likes of Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia and Baylor bolstering top-25 rankings, but there are many in SEC country that believe their conference is the best.

With Kentucky and Florida going through down years, it’s hard to make much of an argument for the SEC, but if LSU can pull off the upset over No. 1 Oklahoma, and No. 20 Kentucky can take down No. 4 KU, then don’t be surprised to hear many bring that slightly ridiculous argument to the forefront.