(14) Albany Great Danes vs. (3) Oklahoma Sooners (-13, 130 o/u)
The pressure is on the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (22-10, 12-6 Big 12) to avoid another Round of 64 March Madness upset. Last year, the Sooners were upset 80-75 by North Dakota State. This year, they’ll face the No. 14 Albany Great Danes (24-8, 15-1 Am. East), who have won 19 of their last 20 games and dominated the America East Conference wire to wire.
Regarding last year’s upset, Sooners guard and Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield said, “It’s been in the back of our heads. We had a couple of great practices to prepare us for this game and we’re just ready to get after it now.”
“We don’t want that to happen to us again,” added forward Ryan Spangler.
After just 16 games and one day of action, 2015 has already brought unprecedented success for No. 14 seeds, with both Georgia State and UAB moving on to the Round of 32 by downing Baylor and Iowa State respectively.
“I’m very surprised,” said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger. “Two great teams that had great years and outstanding players. That’s the nature of the NCAA Tournament, I guess. It’s surprising anytime that happens, but it’s happened before.”
Look for Kruger to play an up-tempo game focusing on TaShawn Thomas, a transfer from Houston.
“I believe if we get the tempo up, that we’ll be able to execute what we want to do,” said Thomas.
Despite the David-vs.-Goliath nature of tonight’s game, the Great Danes are coming in with one goal in mind.
“We’re here to win a game,” said Albany head coach Will Brown said. “We’re here to win more than one game.”
Last year, the Great Danes won in the First Four as a No. 16 seed, but they have yet to pay the spoiler role.
“We played Duke first [in 2013], then Florida last year, and obviously they’re major programs,” said guard Peter Hooley. “We just try to let these guys know on our team that anything can happen. It’s March.”
Considering the Sooners recent play in March Madness, coupled with the Great Danes feistiness and current hot-streak, the play here is Albany and the points (+13).
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