Oklahoma is the best choice for those who want to select a "sleeper" team. The Sooners return all five starters from last season's team that finished 15-16 and lost six games by 10 or fewer points. The addition of 6-9 junior Amath M'Baye gives OU more depth up front, as does the addition of three freshmen guards who are expected to be in the playing rotation. At Lon Kruger's five previous coaching stops, the team's record improved in Year Two.
Coach: Lon Kruger, 15-16 in 1 season; 494-320 overall in 26 seasons.
Last season: 15-16 overall, 5-13, 8th in Big 12.
NCAA: Did not participate.
Senior forward Romero Osby (12.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg), senior guard Steven Pledger (16.2 ppg, .416 3FG%, team-high 72 3-pointers made), senior foward Andrew Fitzgerald (12.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg), senior guard Sam Grooms (6.7 ppg, 6.0 assists per game), senior forward Amath M'Baye, freshman guard Buddy Hield, freshman guard Isaiah Cousins, freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak.
Coach Kruger says
"It's great to have experience. Any time you have a lot of guys coming back, you feel good about that. They've got a better idea of what it takes. The big key is our five seniors have not played in a postseason tournament, so they've been very much motivated during the off-season by that. They've worked hard. They want to play in the postseason, and they should have that as a goal."
Oklahoma returns 88 percent of its scoring, 81 percent of its rebounds and 78 percent of its assists from last season. ... Senior forward Romero Osby scored in double figures and averaged 15.1 points over the last seven games last season. ... Senior point guard Sam Grooms was second in the Big 12 in assists with six per game and led the Big 12 in assist to turnover ratio at plus 2.8. He had at least five assists in 12 of the last 14 games. ... Coach Lon Kruger needs six victories to reach 500 victories. His 494 victories rank No. 21 among active coaches. He is the only active coach who has led four different teams to NCAA Tournament victories.
Nov. 11 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Top nonconference games
Nov. 16 at UT-Arlington
Nov. 28 at Oral Roberts
Dec. 4 at Arkansas
Dec. 15 vs. Texas A&M
Jan. 5 at West Virginia