Schedule: Sunday, Mar. 20
Arena: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Line: Oklahoma (-6.5)
For those of you who think about football when you hear of the Oklahoma Sooners and have ignored their basketball team because of this, you’ve been missing a treat. They have a game coming up on Sunday against the VCU Rams, and it’s one you’re going to want to pay attention to. There’s no telling when it may be your last chance to see Buddy Hield lace them up at the collegiate level.
What To Watch For: VCU
The Rams come into this meeting after ousting a higher seeded Oregon State Beavers team that they were actually favored against. JeQuan Lewis placed the team on his back and expects to do more of the same in the second round, but he isn’t even the team’s best scoring threat. That honor belongs to Melvin Johnson, and you can expect him contribute at least 20 to the cause. The Rams are enjoying their sixth straight tournament appearance, so the lights aren’t too bright and the stage isn’t too big. They bring a talented roster with four legitimate double-digit scorers.
What To Watch For: Oklahoma
The Sooners have won 26 times in their 33 games. They were also favored in the opening round, and they responded with back-to-back 41-point halves. VCU is a much better test, but I’m not sure what their plan is to keep Hield from having his way. He’ll need help, though. The only other scorers to reach double figures in the opener were Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins.
Big games aren’t an issue for this team either, though, as they’ve proven they’re battle tested. Expect frustrating moments as they’ve found a worthy opponent, but they should be able to muster enough offense and come up with enough stops to end up with the higher point total.
The game being played in Oklahoma City will give the Sooners a decided advantage that should yield a close victory and propel them into the Sweet 16.
Prediction: Oklahoma 81, VCU 74