Posted on: March 26, 2009 6:17 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2009 9:31 pm

#2 Oklahoma Sooners (NCAA)

#2 Oklahoma Sooners 29-5 (13-3 Big XII)


Oklahoma Starting Lineup:

G Austin Johnson Sr.

G Willie Warren Fr.

G Tony Crocker Jr.

F Taylor Griffin Sr.

F Blake Griffin Soph.


Key Bench Players:

G Omar Leary Sr.

F Juan Pattillo Jr.

G Cade Davis Soph.


Previous Game:  The Sooners defeated the Michigan Wolverines 73-63 in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16.  The Wolverines where plagued by foul trouble as 4 starters finished with 4 or more fouls.  Consensous Player Of the Year Blake Griffin carried the Sooners to victory finishing with 33 points and 17 boards, freshman shooting guard Willie Warren had 16 points.


Game Preview:  The Sweet 16 is here.  The matchup between the #2 seed Oklahoma Sooners and the #3 seed Syracuse Orange.  The strong frontcourt of the Sooners against the deadly backourt of the Orange.  Contrary to what most people believe, the performance of Blake Griffin will not be the difference in this game.  Griffin, who averages 22.5 ppg along with 14.4 rpg, will undoubtedly get his 20 points and 15 rebounds.  For Syracuse to win they need to hold the OU guards down on the outside and not allow them to get hot.  Against Michigan and their 1-3-1 zone, OU went 6-19 or 31% from 3.  If Syracuse can get a performance like that out of Warren, Crocker, Johnson and Davis (all shoot between 34% and 38% from 3) regardless of what Blake Griffin does Cuse should come out on top.  If OU is going to win they need to "outshoot" the Syracuse guards.  If Flynn, Devendorf and Rautins can shoot like they did against Arizona State it is going to be hard to beat Syracuse.  Another key for the Cuse, the X factor, Paul Harris.  Other than his 29 point 22 rebound performance against UConn in 6 OT's, Paul has been quiet as of late.  He is one of the only guys on the team that isn't on his game.  Though, Harris has traditionally shown up for the big games in his career.  This is a huge game and if Harris can help the frontcourt with the Griffin's and Pattillo, it would go a long way towards getting a W and a trip to the Elite 8.  On a side note, Jim Boeheim is going for his 800th win in the game.  That would make him only the 8th head coach ever to reach 800 wins.


My Prediction:  Toughest prediction yet.  Blake Griffin is the POY, probable #1 draft pick and just all around great player.  The problem for OU is they have a severe lack of balance.  Outiside of Blake Griffin and Willie Warren there are not any other players that average double digits or are consistant scoring threats.  Expect another high scoring game, both teams shoot very well but the balance of Syracuse prevails giving Jim Boeheim number 800 and Syracuse a trip to the elite 8, their first since 2003.  85-82 Syracuse


Final Score: 84-71 Oklahoma


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