Texas basketball vs. OU: 3 bold predictions for the Big 12 opener

Grant Sherfield Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Grant Sherfield Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Grant Sherfield Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Grant Sherfield Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Grant Sherfield is held to scoring in the single digits for the first time this season

The best Sooners players that the Longhorns will have to limit in this game is the former Wichita State Shockers and Nevada Wolfpack senior transfer guard Grant Sherfield, and it’s not even close. Sherfield is scoring at an insane pace this season.

In fact, Sherfield has scored in the double figures in every single one of the dozen games he’s played in an Oklahoma uniform so far this season.

One of the driving factors behind Sherfield’s impressive consistency in the scoring column is his three-point shooting efficiency. Sherfield leads the nation in three-point field goal percentage, at an insane clip of 56.5 percent. He’s hitting around three shots from beyond the arc per game, which is nearly getting him into the double digits in terms of scoring alone in each outing.

Texas will have to really bow up with its perimeter defense if it hopes to slow down Sherfield. Carr is likely going to be matched up with Sherfield, with some switches expected to draw some forwards out to the perimeter. Oklahoma will try and get Sherfield some extra space on the perimeter to knock down open looks.

The same could be said for the Groves brothers, at least one of which is shooting the three-ball well this season (Jacob Groves at a clip of 42.5 percent).

So, how can Texas slow down Sherfield on the defensive end?

Texas needs Carr to disrupt Sherfield by playing some tight on-ball defense while continuing to get his hands in the passing lanes. Carr is drawing a lot of turnovers this season while playing excellent on-ball perimeter defense, evidenced by his career-high clip of 1.8 steals per game and sparkling 4.4 defensive box plus/minus (good for eighth in the Big 12).

If and when forwards such as Allen and Dillon Mitchell get drawn out to the perimeter on screens and pick-and-roll plays, they must be decisive while switching and call for help defense when necessary.

I’m not nearly as concerned about literally any of the other off-ball scoring threats for the Sooners as I would be Sherfield getting open looks from the field (especially from beyond the arc).

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Assuming Texas continues to play sound off-ball defense, while Carr keeps holding his own on the perimeter, this could be one of the more difficult matchups that Sherfield faces this season. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that these feisty defensive guards for the Longhorns hold Sherfield at bay this weekend.