The Oklahoma Sooners have Finally found an offense that can win the national championship, but it ain't the wishbone. And darn if the thing wasn't right there on campus all along.
Where exactly? Well, trudge through the blizzard to Memorial Stadium and keep on going. Then turn right at the snowdrifts and stagger into Lloyd Noble Center, and you'll see this offense in its full glory right there on, of all places, the basketball court.
Now get out of the way. Because the Sooners' attack—call it the wish-home: Opponents wish Oklahoma would hurry up and score its 130 so they can go home—is possessed of the same sort of power as the winter storm that last week nearly blew the entire state away, along with the bad memories of another lost football weekend in Miami.
Ah, but it's a new season, and another Oklahoma team is already raging through the schedule, "crushin' and killin' " in the words of the Sooners' fair-haired, if not so fair-minded, little coach, Billy Tubbs. Sooner teams, as we know, love big numbers. You think the footballers score a lot? In the last five seasons, Tubbs's teams have finished sixth, third, first, third and third in the land in scoring. And in 1987-88 Oklahoma is threatening to blow the lid off every NCAA scoring record.
One hundred seven against Illinois State, a proponent of deliberate pace. One hundred nine against Virginia, a member of the proud ACC. Against Loyola of Chicago, 123. Oral Roberts, 144. Dayton, 151. Centenary, 152. Georgia State coach Bob Reinhart, whose team got off relatively easy—Oklahoma nipped the Panthers 124-81—could take it no longer. On a dead ball, he sent one of his players down the floor to implore the Sooner coaches to call off the dogs. Tubbs responded by ordering his players back into their fire-engine full-court press. "Damn guy wanted mercy," Tubbs says. "Wanted me to back off. That's against the law. They call it point shaving. I'm not going to jail. Damn!"
Loyola coach Gene Sullivan treated his 123-73 annihilation with more equanimity. "If you're going to lose, you might as well lose by 50, right?" he said, after collecting a $15,000 guarantee for agreeing to play in Norman. "When you come here and take the money, you've got to absorb the punishment."
The Sooners dished out more of the same at home last Saturday afternoon. They opened Big Eight conference play by blasting Oklahoma State 108-80 for their 14th victory without a loss, as 6'10" center Stacey (Sky) King and 6'5" forward Dave Sieger scored 26 points apiece. King's overall improvement in the pivot has been the main reason Oklahoma seems better than ever, despite the loss of three key seniors from last season's team. But it was Sieger, an electrical engineering major and a perennial Big Eight All-Academic selection after turning down Stanford to play for the Sooners, who best represented the Oklahoma philosophy in Saturday's game.
Sieger had already rung up eight three-pointers when Tubbs sent him back in the game with 2:53 left and the Sooners ahead 104-70. Why? So Sieger could try to break his own conference single-game record for treys. Sieger, one of only two whites on the Oklahoma roster, is affectionately called Soul Man by his mates. But try as he could to get the ball, Soul Man had to keep watching the Sooner subs ignore him as they heaved up threes of their own inimitable creation. So when he finally got a chance, Sieger whirled and threw up what might have become the season's first turnaround three.
He missed, but Tubbs loved it anyway. "Disorganized?" he said. "Nah. We got guys who are willing to go for it under all possible circumstances."
As always, last week's Oklahoma devastation was inspired by Mookie, Amazing and the Poms, which is not a new reggae group. Mookie Blaylock and Ricky (Amazing) Grace are the Sooners' elusive little backcourt partners; the Poms are the rather gorgeous Sooner pom-pom dancers, which include one Taylor Tubbs. "Best athlete in the family," says her dad, the coach.