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Oregon State Basketball: Oklahoma Sooners Preview (Game 3)

The Beavers clash with their second straight Big 12 foe in the Phil Knight Invitational.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma Sooners (2-0)

  • Head Coach: Lon Kruger (9th Season)
  • Top Performer: Austin Reaves (17.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG)
  • Points For: 78.0 PPG (T-137th)
  • Points Against: 64.5 (T-129th)
  • Last Game/Streak: 71-62 Win vs. Minnesota (2W)
  • Conference Affiliation: Big 12 Conference

The Skinny

Despite being picked to finish 8th in the Big 12’s preseason poll, Oklahoma looks like the type of team that could outperform expectations in the long run. The type of team who won’t want their perfect 2-0 start to be spoiled. The type of team who will be more than ready to play, come Tuesday night at the Moda Center.

As Lon Kruger almost always does, the seasoned head coach has built a roster that flawlessly fits his personal style, led by two talents that should challenge for All-Big 12 accolades in Kristian Doolittle (10.0 PPG) and Brady Manek (16.5 PPG).

Doolittle, a senior who missed the season opener due to a suspension stemming from his partaking in a non-sanctioned summer league contest, returned to action with a 10-point, 10-rebound display in the team’s most recent victory over Minnesota. In that game, Manek added 17 points and 10 boards of his own.

And while Doolittle will always be the hands down leader on and off the floor for the Sooners, it’s pieces like Manek, featured below in our Player To Watch, as well as a deep rotation that gives Oklahoma the balance they’ll need to stay consistent all-season long.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Mississippi vs Oklahoma
Jamal Bieniemy is the prototypical “glue guy” for Oklahoma.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

One of the pieces that Kruger seems to always turn to is reserve guard Jamal Bieniemy (8.5 PPG), who plays a Ginobli-type role for a team still finding their chemistry, around a pair of early season stand-outs who have hit the ground running in junior Austin Reaves (17.0 PPG) and freshman De’Vion Harmon (15.5 PPG).

Reaves is a classic Kruger-esque player, who has emerged since transferring from Wichita State as a more mature and balanced talent than he was in his first two seasons.

Harmon on the other end has been one of the biggest rookie surprises in all of college basketball so far, who is riding a red-hot hand from behind the arc (55.6%).

However, what this game might come down to is which team handles the sometimes awkward environments of early season neutral-site games (which should be somewhat pro-Beavers) and who can impose their style on the contest from the onset. Oregon State has looked like the team Beaver Nation has been waiting for so far. Let’s see if they keep it up against the Sooners.

Player To Watch

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Oklahoma Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Manek (Forward - Junior)

A versatile talent at 6’ 9”, 230 pounds, Oklahoma forward Brady Manek is a very difficult defensive match-up that will leave Tres Tinkle (and others) with their hands full. With streaky shooting ability and a knack for the ball on the glass, Manek is flourishing with some other scoring options emerging early on for this group.

Game Info

  • Date: Tuesday, November 12th
  • Time: 8:00 PM PT
  • Location: Moda Center (Portland, OR)
  • Coverage: ESPN2