Hawaii 5 0: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Kentucky Wildcats

There's no reason to sugarcoat this: Oklahoma is woefully over-matched against Kentucky.  Yes, Oklahoma has won its first three games.  And both teams are incredibly young.  But Jeff Capel and John Calipari had very different recruiting hauls: Calipari reloads (replacing five first-round NBA draft picks with three stud recruits and a solid transfer); Capel has a much more modest class headlined by ESPNU Top 100 recruits Cameron Clark and T.J. Taylor.

Seven of Oklahoma's top eight scorers are in their first or second years (Cade Davis is the lone upperclassman of the bunch).  So far the Sooners are getting double-digit production out of Davis (12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds), Andrew Fitzgerald (15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds), and Steven Pledger (16.7 points, 3.7 assists).  Maybe the most important player for Capel's squad thus far is Nick Thompson, who is averaging 6 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists a game.  The Sooners rely heavily on a six man rotation (all of whom average more than 20 minutes a game).

On Kentucky's side there's a lot of raw youth.  Brandon Knight is an explosive scorer liable to put up thirty points any given game; Terrence Jones is an incredibly talented, albeit inconsistent, power forward ready to put up a double-double every night; Doron Lamb (uber-frosh #3) is the Wildcats' third leading scorer with 16.5 points a game.  The experienced roles in Calipari's rotation come from Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins.  Depth (especially up front) is going to be Kentucky's primary struggle this season.  They rely almost entirely on their starting five.

This gives Oklahoma an Achilles heel to attack.  If the Sooners want a chance to make this a game, I think running down Kentucky's starters (or getting them into foul trouble will be key).  Unfortunately, Oklahoma isn't big enough (they only have one player over 6'8, and he's only averaging two minutes a game) to force the Wildcats to play a larger, less talented lineup.  I don't think there's any way Oklahoma can score with Kentucky in a up-and-down game, so limiting possessions will be key.

Truthfully, this is Kentucky's game to lose.  If they play to their potential, Oklahoma will be out-classed at nearly every position.  But young teams aren't known for playing to their full potentials every night, so this should still be an exciting game to watch.  The game is at 4:30 Central on ESPN2.

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