All season long, ESPN has seemingly gone head over heels for the break out star Trae Young and Oklahoma. The Sooners started out red-hot and Trae Young was putting up NBA Superstar numbers. After beating 5th ranked Kansas 85-80, Trae Young reached his peak performance level, OU sat at a 15-4 record and had the media and fans alike drooling over this team. Then disaster struck. Only winning 2 games since the win against KU, the Sooners have lost 8 of their last 11 games, and have plummeted in the latest Bracketology. Almost everyone is surprised at how bad they’ve crashed and burned to their current 17-12 record. Not me.
Although the Sooners have beaten a handful of quality teams and Trae Young has had plenty of unreal performances, their downfall has been anything but surprising. Let’s be honest, Oklahoma’s roster without Trae Young isn’t the best. It’s been very clear they’ve been reliant on Young’s success for the success of the entire team. If he has a great night, then that usually means a Oklahoma win. If he struggles and doesn’t put up incredible numbers, the Sooner’s don’t have the player(s) that can step up and save them from a loss. Let alone in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball. Other than Trae Young, Oklahoma has a major lack of talent and depth.
The best teams in college basketball are the ones that have the most team chemistry and roster depth. Obviously. Look at the previous National Champions over the past couple years. They’ve had incredible TEAMS, not just ONE PLAYER. Unity is a must to succeed in college basketball and with Oklahoma, it just seems like Trae Young desperately trying to make plays or occasionally putting up ridiculous shots. Their entire team revolves around him. When is the last time a team had long-term success relying on one player for an entire season? Unlike the NBA, star talent isn’t required to compete for National Championships. In fact, a team can have no NBA talent, still be the No.1 overall seed and reach the Final Four. *cough* 2013-14 Florida Gators *cough*. None of that “Superstar” nonsense matters in college. Sure it’s fun to watch and I’m certainly all for having star talent, but I’m just saying it’s not a requirement for a championship.
As we break into the magical month of March and prepare ourselves for one of the best sports spectacles of the year in March Madness, keep an eye on Oklahoma. I’m curious to see if they will get their problems figured out in time for the tournament. Is it too late or did they do enough early in the season to get a spot in the tournament? There are endless questions with this Sooner squad and even if they do make it into the Big Dance, I don’t see them making it past the 2nd Round.
– Collin Borron (Founder & Owner of The Gridiron Express)