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(7) San Diego St. vs. (10) Oklahoma
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 17, 2013 @ 5:28 pm In NCAA | No Comments
(7) San Diego State Aztecs
The Aztecs (22-10, 9-7), hailing from the deep and talented Mountain West Conference, are making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. They have some good size on their frontline, but their strength lies in their guard play. Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher will play four guards for the most of the night, with Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley serving as the top two options offensively. They score a combined 30 points a night; Franklin is also the team’s leading rebounder (9.4) and playmaker (3.2). Despite their guard-centric attack, the Aztecs are not a great three-point shooting team. They make just under six a contest, but at a 32 percent success rate. They also are streaky at the free throw line, where they made just 67 percent of their attempts on the year. The Aztecs played the 20th most difficult schedule in the country and finished the year with a top 30 RPI. Against teams ranked in the same range, though, they were just 3-6. The Aztecs have just two tournament wins in school history, both of them coming in 2011. To add to that they’ll need to draw a team with vulnerable perimeter defense. If that team also lacked the ability to score in the interior, it would greatly aid the Aztecs as well.
(10) Oklahoma Sooners
The last time the Sooners (20-11, 11-7) were in the NCAA Tournament was in 2009 when Blake Griffin was continuously posterizing defenders en route to become the number one pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. While this year’s team, which is making their first appearance with Lon Kruger as their head coach, lacks a star of Griffin’s magnitude they do have two good players in their own right on the frontline in Romero Osby and Amath M’Baye. Osby puts up 15.8 points and seven rebounds a game while M’Baye contributes 10 points and five rebounds. Coach Kruger will play 10 guys on most nights, but doesn’t have much three-point shooting at his disposal. Outside of Steven Pledger, who has made 70 threes, nobody on the team has more than 30 triples. The Sooners played the 16th toughest schedule in the country and have a top 40 RPI. Of their 20 wins, 17 came against teams outside of the RPI top 50. But, their resume is highlighted by wins against Gonzaga, at Kansas and Kansas State (twice). They’ve lost three of their last five going into the tourney, with two of those losses coming at the hands of non-qualified teams.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: San Diego State. We’re going to go with the Aztecs in a clash of styles.
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