Dancing Time: OU vs. Albany Preview - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Dancing Time: OU vs. Albany Preview

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Oklahoma is back in the NCAA tournament for a third straight season, but the Sooners are still looking for their first tournament win since 2009. The No. 3 seed Sooners take on No. 14 seed Albany in the second round of the tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

Here's a quick breakdown of the Sooners' matchup with the Great Danes.

Projected Albany Starters

F Sam Rowley- 14 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 51.1 FG %, 81.5 FT %

F Dallas Ennema- 5 ppg, 32.6 3-pt FG %, 67.6 FT %

C Richard Peters- 2.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 60 FG %

G Evan Singletary-13 ppg, 40.1 3-pt FG %, 81.4 FT %

G Ray Sanders- 9.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 36.3 3-pt FG %, 77.2 FT %

Projected OU Starters

G Jordan Woodard- 9.2 ppg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg, 84.1 FT %

G Isaiah Cousins- 12.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 45.4 3-pt FG %

G Buddy Hield- 17.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 37.1 3-pt FG %, 82.2 FT %

F Ryan Spangler- 10 ppg, 8 rpg, 58.6 FG %, 30.3 3-pt FG %

F TaShawn Thomas- 11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 51.6 FG %, 45 blocks

How the Great Danes got to Columbus: Won the America East regular season title and then defeated Stony Brook, 51-50 in the America East conference tournament title game.

Key stat for Albany: Albany has allowed just one team to score 70 points in a game since Dec. 3. The Great Danes do a great job controlling the tempo and making it difficult for opponents to get out in transition.

Key stat for Oklahoma: The Sooners have been terrific on defense all season. Oklahoma ranks fifth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency in the Ken Pomeroy Ratings. The only teams ahead of them? Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona and San Diego State. AdjD shows how the Sooners played defense while taking account of pace, opponent and other factors.

RELATED STORY: Dean's Blog: Sooners Look Ready In Columbus

Why Oklahoma will suffer an upset: Albany is a very tough team and have a lot of momentum coming off a dramatic win over Stony Brook in the America East championship game. Peter Hooley, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer, is playing for a mother he lost to cancer back in January. The Sooners have not faced many grind-it-out teams this year, so the pace could be a major problem if shots are not falling for Oklahoma.

Why Oklahoma will win: The Sooners are more talented and more athletic and, despite the Great Danes' heart-warming motivation, the Sooners have plenty of their own. Oklahoma is looking for its first NCAA tournament win since 2009 and Lon Kruger is looking for his first win since 2008. The Sooners got their first postseason win under Kruger last week in Kansas City, so that's a huge weight off their shoulders. Expect Oklahoma to play loose and free in Columbus.

Key battle: Rebounding

Albany out-rebounds its opponents by nearly five boards per game, a top-40 mark nationally. Oklahoma gathers in more rebounds per game, but the Sooners also give up a lot of boards. The Sooners will have to control the glass against the Great Danes to advance to the next round. Oklahoma has a bigger group of players, but Albany has a lot of tough guys, including Sam and Mike Rowley, who grew up playing rugby.

Key factor: Experience

The Sooners have plenty of NCAA tournament experience on the roster, as all but three players have been to at least one NCAA tournament. TaShawn Thomas is the notable one in that group of three. As for Albany, there are six players on the roster that have been to the past two NCAA tournaments, teams that pushed Duke (2013) and Florida (2014) hard before eventually falling.

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