The Oklahoma Sooners have been very quietly having a good season in the Big 12. With a 16-7 overall record, 7-4 in Big 12 play, the Sooners sit just one game out the conference lead. It gets even better for Oklahoma, with the remainder of their schedule filled with some conference cupcakes. Only their instate rivals the Oklahoma State Cowboys might be able to add a loss to the Sooner column. However, Oklahoma should be favored in every game after, making them a favorite to win the Big 12 regular season championship.
Oh, there is also some bad news. Freshman guard Buddy Hield is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured fifth metatarsal in right foot. Whatever that injury is, requires surgery and the Sooners will be without Hield’s 8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and most importantly his ability to hit free-throws over 85 percent of the time.
While his stats don’t scream, “Oklahoma is done!”, this does add depth issues as Hield did play 26 minutes a game. Senior Steven Pledger is expected to get his minutes increased in the absence of Hield. Pledger is not stranger to playing over 30 minutes a game either. The previous two seasons, Pledger played more than his 26 minutes a game he does now, before Sooners got Hield.
Fellow freshmen, Je’lon Hornbeak and Isaiah Cousins, are also expected to see their minutes increase in the wake of Hield’s injury. Both have gotten on some pretty good runs this season, and despite how much Hield’s play has helped the Sooners, replacing him by committee might just be enough to make a serious run at a Big 12 regular season title.
It doesn’t hurt that outside of Oklahoma State, the rest of their schedule is composed of teams who have went a combined 20-31 so far this season during conference play.
Joe covers the Catholic Seven for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone