The Oklahoma Sooners advanced to the winners' bracket of the Old Spice Classic by beating a team that just wouldn't go away in the UTEP Miners by a score of 68-61. Moving on to the second round, the Sooners has the chance to watch their future opponent as the Gonzaga Bulldogs took down the Clemson Tigers in a low scoring bout.
The Bulldogs are the only ranked team in the field of eight at the tournament boasting a #17 ranking.
One thing that Gonzaga has going for it is the ability to score and score in bunches. They have been putting up 94.3 points on average before the classic begun which ranked them at first in the nation to go along with their 54.3% shooting percentage overall. That quickly dropped to 85 points per game after facing Clemson.
This Bulldog team is lead by Elias Harris who is averaging a double-double at 13.3 points per game and 10.7 rebounds. While Gonzaga landed an import in 7-footer Przemek Karnowski, he has seen limited minutes. Now, those minutes may continue to decrease with another 7-footer in Kelly Olynyk being inserted into the starting lineup. Olynyk was forced to sit out for the first three games of the season due to a violation of the student code of conduct.
With all the height in the middle, it should be assumed that Gonzaga is a solid rebounding team. Which, if you made that assumption, then you are correct! Both teams are averaging over 40 rebounds per game. Second chance points could be the difference maker in this game.
Oklahoma will have their work cut out for them if they hope to advance to the finals of the Old Spice Classic as they take on the Zags. All the action can be caught on ESPN2 at 6:30 PM (CT).