Representing the # 2 and # 3 seeds of the West bracket, The Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas A&M Aggies will meet in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday night. Both of these teams are coming off exciting wins to advance but for Texas A&M it took the biggest last-minute comeback in the history of NCAA Division 1 basketball. Texas A&M was down 10 points with less than 30 seconds remaining when they were able to force overtime and eventually pull out the 92-88 double overtime win. Oklahoma is back in the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year after holding on for the 85-81 victory over VCU.
Although Oklahoma had 3 player’s score in double digits, Buddy Hield scored 19 points in the last 8 minutes of the game allowing the Sooners to hold on for the victory. Buddy Hield is the second leading scorer in the nation and his 36 points against VCU was the 11th time this season he has scored at least 30 points. Junior guard Jordan Woodard filled up the stat sheet with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block. Ryan Spangler is a 6 foot 8 inch senior forward who helps spread the floor for Hield and has almost averaged a double-double this season with averages of 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. If there was a negative for Oklahoma in this game, it is they allowed VCU to score 50 points in the second half and were out rebounded 13-11 on the offensive boards.
Texas A&M was able to make the improbable comeback thanks to the terrific play of both Alex Caruso and Danuel House who combined to play 89 minutes in this game. Caruso scored 25 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 3 assists while House had 22 points and 8 rebounds. All of House’s 22 points came during the last 5 minutes of regulation and overtime. Defensively they were able to make 6 steals and forced 13 turnovers but did a poor job on the offensive end of holding on to the ball as they committed 14 turnovers. They also had no answer for Jeremy Morgan who exploded for 36 points and 12 rebounds. They did win the rebounding battle 50-39. They shot poorly from three-point range making just 22.6 percent of their attempts and had only 8 assists as a team.
These two teams have similar stats as they both shoot 45 percent from the field and both grab 39 rebounds and force 7 steals per game. Oklahoma has gone 14-17-1 against the spread this year including 10-14-1 as the favorite. Texas A&M has gone 19-15 against the spread this year including 0-2 as the underdog. Oklahoma is favored by 2 points in this game and while they are making a second consecutive trip to the Sweet Sixteen, this is the first time in school history Texas A&M has ever advanced this far.
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