The Oklahoma Sooners head to Anaheim with wins over Cal State Bakersfield and the VCU Rams. However, no team has displayed the tenacity and resiliency of their next opponent, the Texas A&M Aggies. Trailing by 12 points with 44 seconds left on the clock, TAMU posted a 14-2 run forcing overtime with Northern Iowa. Needing two extra periods, the Aggies secured a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. Now set to square off, two familiar foes clash on the hardwood. Who comes out ahead?
Case For Oklahoma
While Texas A&M claimed a share of the SEC Regular Season Title, they have yet to face a backcourt the caliber of the one Oklahoma brings to the table. Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins, and Jordan Woodard have three years of starting experience together and shoot well above average from the three point line. Collectively, the trio shoots an impressive 44.47% from beyond the arc making them one of, if not the, most lethal shooting groups in the nation.
Head Coach Billy Kennedy recognizes the challenge before the team saying, "You've got to get back defensively and protect the three-point line. We're a defensive-oriented team, but we haven't played a team that's as lethal offensively on the perimeter as they are."
Case For Texas A&M
With the length and athleticism of Danuel House and Jalen Jones, there's no denying this program is built around defense. Pulling down an unmatched 47.5 rebounds during NCAA Tournament play, the Aggies have been able to limit second chance points. Giving up a mere 66.1 points per game, A&M defends the paint as well as the transition exceptionally well. The move forces opponents to the three point line where Texas A&M allows shooters to connect on 33% of the attempts.
"They've got good players. They've got good defensive players," Kruger said. "They've got a good team scheme, and in terms of fundamentally they support each other very well. So if you are good on the ball and you've got support ... that's why they are good defensively."