What To Watch For: Northern Iowa vs Oklahoma

(via Ty Russell, SoonerSports.com)

(via Ty Russell, SoonerSports.com)

Northern Iowa vs Oklahoma

6:00 PM CT on ESPNU

Oklahoma is favored by 6

The Sooners are 2-0 heading into the Tire Pros Invitational semifinals, where they will face a giant killer in Northern Iowa. The mid-major power has reloaded for another chance at the NCAA Tournament in 2016-2017. This will be another great test for a young, inexperienced Oklahoma team.

Northern Iowa

  • Ben Jacobson has taken Northern Iowa to the NCAA Tournament the last two years, winning one game in each of those appearances. The deepest run for the Panthers, however, was a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010.
  • Three names to watch:
    • Jeremy Morgan~ The senior guard came on to the scene in the postseason last year, and he has continued that into this season. He is a long, lanky player that can stretch the floor. Morgan is averaging 15.5 points through the first two contests while being 7-11 from deep. Surprisingly, he is also leading the Panthers in rebounds.
    • Klint Carlson~ The big lefty also came onto the scene during their run last year. A physical forward at 6’7″ that can defend and stretch the floor. Morgan and Carlson were a combined 6-10 from three in yesterdays 82-63 win over Arizona State.
    • Bennett Koch~ At the five, Koch has a nice low-post game that will revert viewers back to a 90’s style of basketball. In yesterday’s game, he dominated inside early and often.
  • This is a team that can really shoot the rock, as they have hit 23 threes in their first two games.
  • On tape, this is an incredibly disciplined team that plays as one unit. This is something that may be a problem for not just Oklahoma, but other opponents as Northern Iowa forces inexperienced teams to beat themselves.
  • The Panthers are not an up-tempo team. They are a team that wants to “grind” out possessions on both ends of the floor. I would not be surprised if they would run the shot clock out if they could.
  • Northern Iowa has only given up 100 points in two games, and held their two opponents to 35{90cbdbedcebe3734fdfdeb1f9843068779d1ec8d5ef30619baff100fe391d921} shooting.

Oklahoma

  • The Sooners have four players averaging 10+ points during their first two games. Jordan Woodard leads the team with 19.5 points per game.
  • Oklahoma is shooting 49{90cbdbedcebe3734fdfdeb1f9843068779d1ec8d5ef30619baff100fe391d921} from three so far. Jordan Woodard and Matt Freeman are a combined 10-16 from behind the arc to start the season.
  • Defensively, the Sooners are giving up 65.5 points a game so far. This was an area of concern before the season, and it looks as if Oklahoma has fixed their issues to this point.
  • Kristian Doolittle was two points away from his first double-double (12 rebounds, 8 points) of his career against Tulane.
  • So far, this is the deepest team Lon Kruger has had during his time at Oklahoma. 10 players have played more than 10 minutes in each of the first two games.
  • Oklahoma looks to move to 3-0 for the fifth time in six years under Lon Kruger. In 2014-2015, Creighton beat Oklahoma in the 2nd game of the year.

A matchup with 10th ranked Xavier lies ahead, but Northern Iowa is very capable of knocking off Oklahoma before the Sooners can get there. This should be a great test to see where Oklahoma stands at this point in the season.

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