Oklahoma figures to be an exciting team to watch with home-grown freshman guard Trae Young running the offense. The Sooners look to build on their second-highest scoring output under coach Lon Kruger when they host Ball State on Wednesday.
Young was named the Big 12 Player of the Week after a sensational debut in which he collected 15 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in a 108-89 win over Omaha. “It’s not going to be unusual that he does that,” Kruger told reporters. “We expect him to make good plays and expect him to push the pace and make good decisions. Scoring is a part of it. So yeah, not surprised that it happened.” The Cardinals are coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons and have shared the MAC West Division title the past two campaigns. They suffered a heart-breaking 78-77 loss at defending Atlantic 10 champion Dayton in Friday’s season opener, falling on a buzzer-beater after taking the lead with three seconds left.
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ABOUT BALL STATE (0-1): The Cardinals used 10 players against Dayton, and all 10 scored. Tahjai Teague, a 6-8 forward, led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while point guard Tayler Persons added 14 points and eight assists, including the go-ahead bucket with three seconds left before Ball State gave up the game-winner. Freshman Zach Gunn scored 11 points off the bench in his debut.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (1-0): The Sooners displayed their depth against Omaha, with nine players scoring at least eight points - including six in double figures - as the team shot 55.7 percent. Young’s big night overshadowed a huge effort from reserve center Jamuni McNeace, who came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points and record six of the Sooners’ 13 blocked shots. Fellow reserves Christian James (14 points) and Brady Manek (11, six rebounds) also scored in double digits.
1. Wednesday’s contest is the first meeting between the Sooners, who are 5-0 against current MAC schools, and the Cardinals, who are 4-5 versus the Big 12.
2. Oklahoma is 35-5 in non-conference home games under Kruger.
3. Ball State has not defeated a Power Five opponent since knocking off DePaul in 2010.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 92, Ball State 81