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January 26, 2013

Elite opponents have toughened Sooners for Jayhawks



“When you have so many freshmen playing big-time minutes; five games is a lot of time for them to improve. They’ve played in a lot of games and it’s given them time to pick up on stuff. The Gonzaga game was a long time ago,” M’Baye said. “I think we played pretty good against a Top 15 team in Kansas State, and I think we should be able to show pretty good production against Kansas.”

It won’t be easily definable in points. The lesson OU needed to learn from that Gonzaga game was the toughness required to stay in games against really good teams.

The Sooners have lost three games, but they haven’t allowed anyone to run away and hide, despite bad shooting nights or anything else that didn’t go their way.

It takes a certain toughness to beat elite teams. OU didn’t have it in November, but two months have passed.

“We’re much improved over that time — a lot of teams in the country are. That was, what, a couple months ago almost. I think we learned a lot from that ball game,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “Gonzaga is a big physical team. We got pushed around quite a bit. We came out of that game realizing we’ve got to be a lot more physical, a lot more aggressive. I think we’ve made progress in that area.”

The Sooners have. Today, they’ll find out how far they’ve advanced.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn


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