Sooners Face Top-Seeded Virginia on Sunday
SUNDAY'S GAME BASICS
After opening the NCAA Tournament with a 23-point win over Ole Miss on Friday, Oklahoma (20-13, 7-11 Big 12) will look for its second upset a row on Sunday. The Sooners are set to face ACC-champion Virginia (30-3, 16-2 ACC) with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. Virginia will offer one of the toughest challenges the Sooners have faced all season as the Cavaliers have lost only three times this season and are the No. 1 seed in the South Region.
OU is 2-2 when facing a No. 1 seed since the tournament field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, but this is the first time facing a No. 1 seed during the first weekend. The Sooners most recently faced a top seed when Oklahoma defeated Oregon in the 2016 Elite Eight.
ON THE AIR
Sunday’s matchup will tip at 6:45 p.m. CT and air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. The game will be televised nationally on truTV with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson calling the action.
SERIES HISTORY: VIRGINIA
• The Cavaliers own a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Sooners, including a Sweet 16 victory over OU in 1989 NCAA Tournament – the only previous postseason meeting between the two programs.
• Oklahoma is an even 16-16 all time against current ACC schools, but is 2-5 when facing an ACC team in the Big Dance.
Kristian Doolittle posted 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists against Ole Miss. Only Blake Griffin and Harvey Grant have pulled down more rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game in OU history.
RECAPPING OU'S FIRST ROUND WIN
• The No. 9-seeded Sooners rolled No. 8-seeded Ole Miss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, defeating the Rebels, 95-72. The 23-point win is Oklahoma's largest margin of victory as a lesser seed in its NCAA Tournament history and its third double-digit win over a better seed in the Big Dance.
• Oklahoma's 95 points are its most in an NCAA Tournament game since the Sooners scored 124 against Louisiana Tech in 1989. The Sooners shot 34-of-59 (.576) from the field - their best shooting performance in March Madness since shooting .604 against Morgan State in 2009.
• Four Sooners scored at least 18 points in the win, led by 20 points apiece from Christian James and Rashard Odomes. It was the first time since 2009 that two OU players totaled at least 20 points in a March Madness game (Tony Crocker and Blake Griffin against Syracuse).
• Kristian Doolittle posted 19 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two steals. Doolittle's 15 rebounds are tied for the fourth most by a Sooner in a March Madness game. Blake Griffin (17 and 16) and Harvey Grant (16) are the only Sooners to pull down more boards in an NCAA Tournament game.
• Doolittle's performance marked the first NCAA Tournament game of 15 points and 15 boards by a Sooner since Blake Griffin collected 23 points and 16 rebounds against North Carolina in 2009. Doolittle is the only Sooner during the Big 12 era to produce at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in an NCAA Tournament contest. Doolittle tied career highs in both rebounds (15) and assists (five).
• Brady Manek chipped in 18 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting.
• OU improved to 3-0 against the SEC during NCAA Tournament games. The Sooners are also 3-0 against the SEC this year.
• With its win on Friday, OU improved to 7-5 in NCAA Tournament games under Lon Kruger. Oklahoma has won seven of its last 10 tournament games in the Kruger era, including five of the last seven. OU's last two losses came in 2018 (overtime loss to Rhode Island) and 2016 in the Final Four's national semifinal game.
• Oklahoma aims to win its way to the South Regional’s Sweet 16 in Louisville, Ky., and capture its third Sweet 16 appearance in the last five years. The Sooners have reached the Sweet 16 10 times since the tournament field expanded to 64-plus teams. Oklahoma was among the final 16 teams in four tournaments before the field expansion, including three tournaments where the field began as only eight teams. OU has reached the Sweet 16 three times in a five-year run during two previous stretches. The Sooners danced into the Sweet 16 three times between 1999 and 2003 and four times between 1985 and 1989.
• The Sooners have won five of their last six First and Second Round games and are 5-3 during opening weekend games under Kruger.
• The Sooners are now 42-31 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
• Oklahoma's 95 points were the most any team put up in the First Round of this year's tournament. Buffalo (91) was the only other team to score over 90. The Sooners led the 68-team field in field goal percentage as well with its .576 clip.
• OU has had two players reach 20 points in each of their last three victories. Six different Sooners have reached the 20-point mark in those contests, with no lone player doing it multiple times. Jamal Bieniemy (22) and Aaron Calixte (22) led the Sooners past West Virginia on March 2, Kristian Doolittle (24) and Brady Manek (21) lifted OU past Kansas on March 5 while Christian James (20) and Rashard Odomes (20) were the team leaders against Ole Miss on Friday.
• With four made 3-pointers in Friday's win, Christian James passed both Mookie Blaylock and Ryan Minor on OU's career 3-point field goal list. He now sits ninth in program history with 173 treys.
• James produced his team-leading seventh 20-point showing in Friday's win over Ole Miss. The performance also elevated him into the top 30 on OU's all-time career scoring list. The guard ranks 30th with 1,196 career points.
• Junior forward Kristian Doolittle continued his scoring hot streak on Friday with his 19-point, 15-rebound performance. The Big 12's Most Improved Player, Doolittle has produced at least 14 points in the last eight straight games, averaging 17.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and shooting 51.6 percent during that stretch.
• Sophomore forward Brady Manek has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 15 games and has reached at least 18 points in three of Ou's last four contests. With Oklahoma's win on Friday, the Sooners improved to 27-11 when Manek scores in double figures and 16-4 when he scores at least 15 points during his two seasons in the Crimson and Cream.
• OU's only scholarship freshman, guard Jamal Bieniemy dished out five assists in his NCAA Tournament debut on Friday. He now boasts a season assist/turnover ratio of 2.60, which ranks second in the Big 12 and third among major-conference freshmen. With his five dimes and two steals against Ole Miss, he now ranks fourth in program history in steals by a freshman (47) and eighth in assists by a freshman (117). If Bieniemy can swipe three more steals, he would be just the fourth Sooner to produce 100 assists and 50 steals in a freshman season.
• As seen on Friday, sometimes the key to victory can be as simple as making shots. Oklahoma is 20-1 when it holds a better shooting percentage than its opponents and 0-11 when the Sooners have a worse shooting percentage (0-1 when the percentages are equal). The lone loss when OU held a better shooting percentage was a one-point loss to West Virginia in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma is shooting .480 (.368 from 3-point range) in its 20 wins and .401 (.307 from deep) in its 13 losses. The Sooners are 14-3 when they shoot above 45 percent.
UP NEXT: UC IRVINE OR OREGON
• Should the Sooners advance out of the Second Round, Oklahoma would play next on Thursday in Louisville, Ky. Meeting the Sooners would be one of two high seeds who upset their opponent in the opening round. No. 13 UC-Irvine defeated No. 4 Kansas State while No. 12 Oregon worked past No. 5 Wisconsin. The Anteaters and Ducks will meet Sunday in San Jose, Calif., in the final game of the day.
• Oklahoma has met the Anteaters four previous times, owning a perfect 4-0 record in the all-time series. All four matchups were played in Norman, including one postseason matchup. Oklahoma defeated Irvine, 80-77, in the the 1982 NIT.
• A matchup with Oregon would be Oklahoma's third meeting with the Ducks in the last four seasons. The Sooners won both matchups, defeating top-seeded Oregon in the 2016 Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four and later winning in the early-season PK80 tournament in Portland in 2017. The all-time series is tied 2-2.
• Oklahoma and Oregon have met twice previously in the NCAA Tournament. In addition to the 2016 Elite Eight, the Sooners and Ducks played in the first-ever Final Four with Oregon defeating the Sooners in the 1939 national semifinal in San Francisco.
• The Sooners are a perfect 6-0 against teams from the Pac-12 during the Lon Kruger era.