1. Oklahoma Sooners
After two straight years of missing the NCAA Tournament in Norman, Porter Moser has gotten the Sooners back in the national spotlight thanks to a surprising 11-1 start on the year.
In the past two years, the problem with Oklahoma is that although they fell victim to the rigors of the Big 12 and their roster was not that bad in both years, their teams lacked physicality and struggled on the offensive side of the floor despite having a solid defense to work with.
This year is different, however, as Porter Moser has both: a more athletic and physical offense with a suffocating defense -- arguably the best defense in the Big 12 behind Houston.
Led by sophomore breakout start Otega Oweh (16.5 Pts, 2.8 Reb, 1.5 Ast) and crucial portal additions in Siena transfer Javian McCollum (14.3 Pts, 2.6 Reb, 3.6 Ast), Pitt transfer John Hugley IV (9.8 Pts, 5.1 Reb, 1.1 Ast) alongside Jalon Moore (Georgia Tech), Rivaldo Soares (Oregon) and Le’Tre Darthard (Utah Valley), the Sooners’ portal pieces have fit seamlessly, creating an elite backcourt with Javian McCollum and sophomore guard Milos Uzhan.
What is interesting about this Oklahoma team is the fact that not only is Moser able to go nine deep on any given night, but he can effectively use the depth at his disposal to keep playing at a quicker pace -- a key aspect to their blistering start.
With wins over Iowa, USC, Providence and Arkansas, the Sooners have put together a quality resume despite falling to North Carolina in Charlotte over a week ago.
Although preseason expectations surrounding the Sooners were low, the work Porter Moser has done to change the complexity of this team has been outstanding, making the Sooners the biggest -- and best -- surprise team of the 2023-24 season.