Wizards

No. 13 Sooners perfect on the road so far

201211101644602684647-p2.jpeg

No. 13 Sooners perfect on the road so far

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) For a team that went six years without losing at home, struggles on the road were always magnified at Oklahoma.

That's starting to turn around.

The No. 13 Sooners (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) are perfect away from home so far this season, winning all three of their true road games and walloping Texas in the neutral-site Red River Rivalry game. There are two tests left, both at sites new to the conference: Saturday at West Virginia (5-4, 2-4) and the season finale at TCU.

``It's always a big challenge to go in someone else's house. It just brings your team closer, because that's all you have on the road,'' defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland said. ``There's a few fans that travel with you, but it's all about what's in your locker room. There's no distractions. You just have to play as one.''

The Sooners scuffled in their opener at UTEP, getting a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 24-7 victory, but otherwise it's been relatively smooth sailing away from Owen Field, where their 39-game home winning streak was snapped last season.

They've never been behind in the second half in any of their away games this season - a 41-20 victory at Texas Tech, a 35-20 win at Iowa State or even that 63-21 rout of Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

``I think as much as anything, hopefully it should be irrelevant where you're playing in regards to your mindset, in regards to how you prepare, in regards to how you walk on the field ready to play,'' said Bob Stoops, who is 80-5 at home and 41-18 on the road as the head coach.

``All that matters is what you're doing inside those lines, regardless of where it is. I think we've been more consistent in approaching it that way. Even at home, it's been very similar in trying to be methodical in how we play.''

Oklahoma hasn't gone unbeaten on the road since 2008, when they played for the national championship despite losing the Red River Rivalry game to Texas. Each of the past three seasons have included at least two losses in road games. Last year's came in the final two road trips, at Baylor and Oklahoma State.

``I just think we don't care. We're going to prepare like we're going to prepare. If you want to play us here, there or in some field in some random town, it's whatever,'' defensive end R.J. Washington said. ``I like it because I like being the underdog. Since high school, my teams have always been underdogs and like to show people what we've got.''

Of course, the Sooners are rarely underdogs even on the road - just like this week, when they're favored by 11 points at West Virginia. But Washington said there's still that feeling in any opponent's stadium.

``It's all of us versus all of them, and that's fine,'' Washington said.

Quick Links

NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

kawhi.png
USA TODAY Sports

NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Atlantic Division...

Toronto Raptors, B+

2017-18 finish: 59-23, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Kawhi Leonard, G Danny Green, C Greg Monroe
Out: G DeMar DeRozan, C Jakub Poeltl, C Lucas Nogueira

The Raptors had one of the more consequential offseasons of any NBA team this year. First, they fired Dwane Casey, the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, following a season in which they won 59 games. Then, they pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a deal that featured two perennial All-NBA players. They let go of DeRozan and brought in Leonard in return. If they hadn't parted with DeRozan and Casey, they may have gotten an A. But it's hard to tell how much better they will be following the deal and Leonard does bring with him some concerns based on his quadriceps injury and the fact he has only one year left on his contract. The Raptors do, however, also get points for re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet.

Boston Celtics, C

2017-18 finish: 55-27, conference finals
In: C Robert Williams, G Brad Wanamaker
Out: C Greg Monroe

One year ago, the Celtics flipped nearly their entire roster and brought in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This year, they mostly stood pat and didn't add much of anything in free agency or trades. Their biggest acquisition was Williams, who they took 27th overall in the first round of the draft. The Celtics will hope they improve from within. They re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes, and should get Irving and Hayward back from injuries. They should have plenty of talent to compete for an NBA Finals berth, but as far as this offseason goes, they didn't do much.

Philadelphia 76ers, D+

2017-18 finish: 52-30, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Wilson Chandler, C Mike Muscala, G Zhaire Smith, G Landry Shamet
Out: G Marco Belinelli, F Ersan Ilyasova

Where do we begin? This summer was about as dramatic and bad as it could get for the Sixers. First, they had to fire their general manager because of a burner Twitter account scandal. Then, they struck out miserably in free agency with LeBron James and Paul George, and in trade talks for Leonard. After that, Smith - their first round pick - hurt his foot. And along the way, Ben Simmons has been dating a Kardashian, flirting with the curse that has claimed many pro athletes before him. Philly did re-sign J.J. Redick and Johnson, and the Chandler trade was nice, but all in all it was an offseason that fell way short of the Sixers' expectations. That said, they can still get way better next season based solely on their young players taking another step.

New York Knicks, B

2017-18 finish: 29-53, missed playoffs
In: F Mario Hezonja, F Kevin Knox, F Noah Vonleh, C Mitchell Robinson
Out: F Michael Beasley, G Jarrett Jack, F Kyle O'Quinn

It's been a while since the Knicks had an offseason to write home about and this one is no exception. There was nothing they did that would flirt with an A-grade. However, the early returns on their draft are excellent. Knox and Robinson were both standouts in the Summer League and offer fans a little bit more hope about the team's future. As long as Kristaps Porzingis can return this season safe and sound from his ACL tear, the Knicks could take a step forward in 2018-19.

Brooklyn Nets, C+

2017-18 finish: 28-54, missed playoffs
In: F Ed Davis, F Kenneth Faried, F Jared Dudley
Out: F Dante Cunningham, G Nik Stauskas, C Jahlil Okafor

The best news about the Nets' offseason is that their trade with the Celtics, the one that stripped them of years of first round picks, is finally over. Next year, the Nets will have a first round pick. This summer, they once again didn't add any major pieces in the draft, but seemed to make some smart moves in free agency. The Davis deal is solid and Faried may benefit from a change of scenery. More baby steps for Brooklyn.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE WIZARDS NEWS

 

Quick Links

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

orlov2.jpg
USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.

 

MORE CAPS NEWS: 

Say It Ain't SoCapitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

JJ In The LabKey Caps questions: What rookies will have an impact next season?

So You're Saying There's a ChanceOddsmakers give three Capitals the chance to win MVP in 2018-19