In the West Region semifinals, the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners will match up with the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday evening in Anaheim, Calif. The Sooners will be looking to reach the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009, while the Aggies will be looking to reach the Round of Eight for the first time in school history.
The Sooners are coming off of a hard-fought 85-81 victory over the VCU Rams in the Round of 32. Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield had 36 points — including 29 in the second half. Jordan Woodard chipped in 17 and Isaiah Cousins added 15 as the Sooners reached the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season.
Texas A&M advanced to the Sweet 16 with the most improbable comeback in college basketball history. The Aggies were down by 12 to Northern Iowa when they turned on the full-court press and forced the game to go into overtime. Eventually, Billy Kennedy‘s club would emerge victorious after two overtimes as they were led by Alex Caruso‘s 25 points and Danuel House‘s 22.
What To Watch For
The Sooners will continue to live and die by Hield who’s done nothing short of carry this team on his back all season long. He can score from anywhere on the court, and it will be up to his teammates to get him the ball in rhythm. When Hield gets doubled, Woodard and Cousins will have to be ready to knock down open shots against the Aggies.
Texas A&M is led by House and Jalen Jones who are both big guards who could be tough covers for the Sooners. They need to use their size to get into the lane and challenge the guards of the Sooners to try to get them into foul trouble. If the Aggies can score in the paint, it will make it very difficult for the Sooners to beat them.
I like the experience of the Sooners, but I like the length and athleticism of the Aggies even more. They should have supreme confidence that they can come back from any deficit that they face after what happened against Northern Iowa. That confidence should go a long way as Texas A&M moves on to the Elite Eight.
Prediction: Texas A&M 80, Oklahoma 73