The Oklahoma Sooners are making a fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament under the direction of Lon Kruger. Earning a No. 2 seed, the Sooners are paired off with No. 15 seed, the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners marking their first appearance in the Big Dance since joining the D-I ranks. However, it should be a home crowd for OU as the two collide on Friday inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
Previewing The Roadrunners
With a veteran roster, CSU Bakersfield shocked New Mexico State by winning the WAC Tournament largely due to the play on the defensive side of the court. Holding opponents to 46.2% shooting inside the arc, the Roadrunners rank 11th in the nation while pulling down 38.3 rebounds each outing.
Kevin Mays leads the program on the glass with 8 rebounds per game with 4.5 of those coming on the defensive side and 3.5 on the offensive end. Although he stands 6-4 and will be outsized in the NCAAs, this kid knows how to play big. Behind him, Aly Ahmed contributes 6.2 rebounds but his strength may not necessarily be what he brings defensively
Ahmed, the senior and Egyptian native, possesses the potential to be a shot blocker but leads the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game. Yet, four others join him in double digit scoring including fellow senior Mays. Regardless, CSU Bakersfield struggles offensively.
Ranked 185th in three point field goal percentage at 34.4%, the Roadrunners do not present a consistent threat from range. When stepping up to the charity stripe, this group has remained inconsistent as well shooting 65.3% from the free throw line. They'll likely have to work for all of their points against a power five team like Oklahoma.