For the 11th time in the history of the program, the Oklahoma men’s basketball team is headed to the Sweet 16 and will face a very familiar opponent. Former Big 12 brother, Texas A&M, awaits the Sooners for a Thursday night (6:37) matchup in Anaheim that promises to be a less than friendly reunion.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Wave of momentum
If you haven’t heard, the Aggies shocked the world when they overcame a 12-point deficit with only 45 seconds left in the game in their 92-88 double-overtime win over UNI on Sunday. The win was not only ridiculous, but Texas A&M did it all without fouling, and forced UNI into committing four turnovers in that span while capitalizing on the offensive end.
It’s the biggest come from behind win in the final minute in the history of college basketball, and there’s no doubt the Aggies will be riding that wave of momentum into the Sweet 16. Oklahoma will need to neutralize that early attack from the Aggies and showcase the attributes that had the Sooners sitting atop the National polls for a chunk of the season.
The Aggies went 26-8 just one year after a 20-11 season that saw an NIT appearance. Texas A&M head coach really turned things around in 2016 as he won the SEC Coach of the Year award while taking the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since taking over five seasons ago.
This is A&M’s third trip to the Sweet 16 and first since 2007, but the Aggies will be facing an OU team that made it to the dance just last season.
Just like the Sooners, the Aggies have the luxury of very good guard play led by senior Danuel House, who averages 15.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Jalen Jones is a nice compliment on the wing with an average of 15.4 points per contest while grabbing a team-high 7.1 rebounds. Both House and Jones are 6-foot-7 and are the definition of a matchup nightmare on both ends of the floor.
The Aggies will have a huge height advantage over Buddy Hield (6-4) and Jordan Woodard (6-0) out on the perimeter, so it’ll be up to Lon Kruger and the Oklahoma staff to figure out ways to get their playmakers open.
Another experienced A&M guard is Alex Caruso, who’s fresh off a 25-point, nine rebound performance in A&M’s comeback win over UNI. It’ll be a treat to watch all of these seasoned college vets battle it out with everything on the line.
Oklahoma has dominated the all-time series 31-10, with the Sooners winning the last matchup 64-52 back at the All-College Classic in 2013. Buddy Hield scored six points in the win, while Jordan Woodard led the way with 20 points and Isaiah Cousins added eight points. A&M’s Jalen Jones and Alex Caruso started for the Aggies and scored nine and six points respectively.