#2 OKLAHOMA V.S. #3 TEXAS A&M
THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2016
7:37 PM TBS
HOW THEY GOT HERE OU-2.5
OKLAHOMA: BEAT #15 CSB 82-68, BEAT #10 VCU 85-81
TEXAS A&M: #14 GREEN BAY 92-65, BEAT #11 NORTHERN IOWA 92-88 2OT
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
OKLAHOMA (27-7) TEXAS A&M (28-8)
R. SPANGLER F T. DAVIS C
K. LATTIN F J. JONES G
I. COUSINS G A. COLLINS G
B. HIELD G D. HOUSE G
J. WOODARD A. CARUSO G
KEYS TO VICTORY:
These once rivals will be playing each other for the first time this season and the Sooners are slight favorites (-2.5). Texas A&M came back from double digits in the last 43 seconds to stun Northern Iowa in the second round. Is momentum on their side? OU played a tough second round game but came out on top due to star Buddy Hield and his 37 point performance.
The Sooners have had an outstanding season and it all starts with National Player of the Year Candidate Buddy Hield. He has been nothing short of spectacular all season long. PG Isaiah Cousins is a strong back-court mate. Junior G Jordan Woodard (12.8pts,3reb, 3.4ast) provides extra scoring punch. F Ryan Spangler (10.5pts, 9.3reb) has been an unsung hero and is a threat from 3-point range as well as from inside. His versatility will be a key in this game.
The Aggies are led by G/F Danuel House. It was his late game heroics against Northern Iowa that gave A&M the chance to be in the Sweet 16. However, A&M is much more than a one man show. Senior Guard Jalen Jones (15.4pts, 7.1reb) and Freshmen Center Tyler Davis (11.1pts, 6.2pts) provide scoring, and good defense to help out House. PG Alex Caruso (8.1pts, 3.6reb,5ast) will be one of the keys to the game. Can he go toe to toe with Isaiah Cousins? This is a match-up that needs to be watched. Caruso got outplayed by Northern Iowa’s Michael Walkup in the second round. For the Aggies to have a chance that can’t happen again.
Oklahoma Head Coach Lon Kruger has been in this spot many times before. He led Florida to the Final 4 in 1994 and will not be afraid of the spotlight. He has done an admirable job of rebuilding and re-branding the Sooners since taking over the job in 2011. Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy took over the head reigns in 2011 after coming over from Murray State, where he did a fantastic job. However, he has not been in this spot before and it remains to be seen if he is up for it. With Kruger’s past college experience as well as coaching at the NBA level we give the coaching nod to the Sooners.
Buddy Hield has answered every call all year. He seems to play his best basketball in the biggest games. Texas A&M was extremely fortunate and had a prayer answered against Northern Iowa in the second round. The key to the game is whether the Aggies can limit contain Hield. It will be a very tall order. Along with Cousins in the back-court the Sooners will be too much for the Aggies. We like the Oklahoma Sooners to win and advance to the Elite 8. Buddy Hield will be too much for Texas A&M to handle. He is on a mission.
OKLAHOMA BY 6