Sooners Set For Syracuse, Sweet 16

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
 No. 2 Seed Oklahoma (29-5) vs. No. 3 Seed Syracuse (28-9) 
 Date & Tip Time

 Friday, March 27at 6:27 p.m. CDT

 Location  Memphis, Tenn. | FedExForum
 Series History  Syracuse leads 2-1
 TV

 CBS

 Radio

 Sooner Radio Network
 KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa

 Online Coverage  Video Live Video | Live Stats | NCAA Central
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

SOUTH REGIONAL INFORMATION
Making its 26th NCAA Tournament appearance and second under third-year head coach Jeff Capel, No. 2 seed Oklahoma (29-5 overall, 13-3 Big 12 Conference) will meet No. 3 seed Syracuse (28-9, 11-7 Big East) in Friday's South Regional semifinal in Memphis, Tenn.  The contest, which will be played at FedExForum, will start at 6:27 p.m. CDT.

Should it advance to the regional final, Oklahoma will face the winner of Friday's North Carolina (No. 1 seed) versus Gonzaga (No. 4 seed) matchup on Sunday (time TBA).  The Tar Heels sport a 30-4 record while the Bulldogs are 28-5. 

All of Oklahoma's NCAA Tournament games will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action.  They will be televised by CBS (KWTV Channel 9 in OKC; KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa) with Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg announcing.

OKLAHOMA AND THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• OU is making its 26th NCAA Tournament appearance and 13th in the last 15 years.
• Oklahoma's 22 NCAA Tournament appearances over the last 27 years are tied for the nation's sixth most during the span (only Arizona, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and Indiana have made more).
• This marks OU's ninth Sweet 16 appearance since NCAA Tournament seeding began in 1979.  It is the program's fourth since 1999 (1999, 2002, 2003 were the others).
• The Sooners have made four Final Four appearances (1939, 1947, 1988 and 2002).  They played in the 1947 and 1988 national championship games.
• Oklahoma is 11-5 in its last six NCAA Tournaments, with a Final Four showing in 2002 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2003.
• OU is 7-2 all-time as the No. 2 seed.  In 1984, the Sooners lost to No. 10 seed Dayton (89-85).  In 2002, they beat No. 15 seed Illinois-Chicago (71-63), No. 7 seed Xavier (78-65), No. 3 seed Arizona (88-67) and No. 12 seed Missouri (81-75) to advance to the Final Four where it lost to No. 5 seed Indiana (73-64).  They have beaten No. 15 seed Morgan State (82-74) and No. 10 seed Michigan (73-63) this year.

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 22.5 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 64.6 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 9.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 54.3 FG%
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 9.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 34.6 3FG%
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4

207

Fr.
 14.7 ppg, 3.1 apg, 38.0 3FG%
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 8.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 35.0 3FG% 

OKLAHOMA-SYRACUSE SERIES HISTORY
• Oklahoma owns a 1-2 record against Syracuse.  In their most recent meeting, the Orangemen won 63-47 in the 2003 NCAA Tournament East Regional final in Albany, N.Y., and went on to win the national title.  Carmelo Anthony paced Syracuse with 20 points while DeAngelo Alexander led OU with 14.  The Orange shot .521 from the field while OU shot .310 from the floor and .179 (5-for-28) from 3-point range.
• The Sooners posted a 98-91 win at Syracuse during the 1983-84 season behind 33 points from Wayman Tisdale.
• Syracuse registered a 55-49 home victory during the 1948-49 season.

HOW THE SOONERS GOT TO MEMPHIS
• Oklahoma beat 15th-seeded Morgan State, 82-54, and 10th-seeded Michigan, 73-63, last Thursday and Saturday in Kansas City.
• OU shot a combined .545 from the field (including a season-high .604 against Morgan State) while holding its foes to a .331 mark.
• Sophomore forward Blake Griffin averaged 30.5 points, 15.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting .781 from the field (25-for-32).  He finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds against Morgan State and 33 points and 17 boards versus Michigan.  His 14 field goals and 17 caroms against the Wolverines tied OU NCAA Tournament records, while his 33 points were the fifth most in school tourney history.
• Griffin's effort against Michigan marked the first 30-point, 15-rebound game in NCAA Tournament play since Kansas' Nick Collison registered 33 and 19 against Duke in the 2003 Sweet 16.
• Blake (11-for-12) and Taylor Griffin (7-for-8) combined to go 18-for-20 (.900) from the field versus Morgan State.  They totaled 46 points.  Taylor Griffin averaged 12.5 points over the two outings while going 9-for-14 (.643) from the floor.
• Freshman guard Willie Warren had 16 points and four assists in each game.  He was 10-for-19 from the field and 5-for-12 on trey attempts.
• Senior point guard Austin Johnson averaged 9.5 points, 4.0 boards and 3.0 assists while going 4-for-8 from 3-point distance.  He played 40 minutes against Michigan (left the game with four seconds remaining).
• Junior guard Tony Crocker averaged just 4.0 points, but was a key player in the win over Michigan as he contributed a game-high six assists and held Manny Harris to 11 points.  Crocker took three second-half charges on defense (he entered the game with three all season).

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Blake Griffin | So. | Forward
 • Won Adolph Rupp Award (Player of the Year)
 • Averaging 30.5 points and 15.0 rebounds through first two NCAA games (78.1 FG%).
 • Leads nation in rebounding (14.4) and double-doubles (28)
 • Ranks No. 2 nationally in FG percentage (.646) and 11th in scoring (22.5 ppg)
• Has double-doubles in 14 of last 15 games

   

GRIFFIN'S STELLAR SOPHOMORE SEASON
Sophomore forward Blake Griffin, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Year by league head coaches and was a unanimous first-team choice for the all-league squad, has also been named national player of the year by The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Athlon Sports, CBSSports.com and FoxSports.com.  The 6-10, 251-pounder is averaging 22.5 points and 14.4 rebounds per game while shooting .646 from the field, all Big 12 bests.  Nationally, he ranks first in rebounding and double-doubles (28), second in field goal percentage and 11th in scoring.  He is also averaging 2.3 assists per game, more than any other Big 12 player taller than 6-foot-5.  To boot, Griffin ranks fifth in the league with his 1.2 blocked shots per game and ranks third on OU with his 1.2 steals average.  Griffin, who is OU's second Big 12 Player of the Year (Hollis Price was named AP Big 12 Player of the Year in 2003), has already set several OU and Big 12 records this year and is on pace to set more...

• Griffin has obliterated the school and Big 12 records for rebounds in a season (474).  Wayman Tisdale held the former OU record with 378 in 1984-85 while Kansas' Drew Gooden (423 in 2001-02) held the former Big 12 single-season mark.
• Griffin is on pace to set school and Big 12 single-season records for rebounds per game with his 14.4 average.  The current OU record is 13.3 by Alvan Adams (set in 1974-75) while the current Big 12 record is 12.4 by Kansas State's Michael Beasley (set last year).  Griffin's 14.3 rebounds per Big 12 game set a league record (Texas' Kevin Durant averaged 12.5 in 2006-07).
• Griffin's 215 boards in Big 12 play set a conference record, and that's with Griffin missing a game and a half due to a concussion.  Durant held the previous mark with 2000 in 2007 (he played all 16 games).
• Griffin's 28 double-doubles are a single-season school record and are tied as the most by a Big 12 player.  Alvan Adams (1973-74) and Garfield Heard (1969-70) held the previous OU mark with 21.  Michael Beasley registered 28 last season for Kansas State.
• With a .646 season field goal mark, Griffin is on pace to set the OU and Big 12 records.  Al Beal (.627 in 1978-79) holds the OU record while Colorado's David Harrison (.631 in 2003-04) holds the Big 12 mark.
• The OU career record for field goal percentage (minimum of 500 attempts) is .578 by Tisdale.  Griffin owns a .612 career figure.
• Griffin has three games of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds this season, a Big 12 record.  Only one other league player (Beasley had two) has ever recorded more than one such outing in a career.
• Griffin has attempted 306 free throws on the year, breaking Stacey King's former school record of 294 in 1988-89 and Beasley's old Big 12 record of 279 last year.  If the season ended today, Griffin would set the OU single-season mark for free throw attempts per game with 9.3 (King averaged 8.9 in 1988-89).
• Griffin's 40 points and 23 rebounds against Texas Tech Feb. 14 represent the only 40/20 game in Big 12 history.  His 23 boards tied the most ever in a league contest (Durant in 2006-07 and Kansas' Nick Collison in 2002-03 also grabbed 23 boards in a Big 12 game).
• Griffin has recorded a Big 12-record 14 games of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds this year.  The former record was seven in a season (Durant in 2006-07 and Beasley in 2007-08). 
• Griffin earned six Big 12 Player of the Week awards this season, tying a conference record. 

WARREN SELECTED AS UNANIMOUS BIG 12 FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Guard Willie Warren was a unanimous choice as Big 12 Freshman of the Year by conference head coaches, becoming OU's first such honoree.  The 6-4, 207-pounder from Fort Worth, Texas, is averaging 14.7 points a game to rank 13th in the league, 3.1 assists (ranks 16th) and 1.2 steals.  He is shooting .481 from the field, .380 from 3-point distance and .775 from the free throw line (ranks 13th in Big 12).  Following are notes from Warren's first season at OU...

• Warren has seven games of at least 20 points this year, the most by an OU true freshman since Tim McCalister recorded nine of them in 1983-84.  Warren has registered at least 27 points four times and has broken the 30-point barrier twice to become the first OU true frosh since McCalister to register multiple 30-point outings.
• Warren already ranks third on OU's freshman scoring chart (501 points), first in 3-pointers (63), fourth in free throws made (110), fifth in assists (105) and fifth in steals (39).
• Warren, who earned seven Big 12 Rookie of the Week awards (one shy of Michael Beasley's record of eight set last year), shot .460 from 3-point range (29-for-63) in OU's 11 road games.  He averaged 17.0 points per road outing.
• Warren leads the team with 63 3-pointers and has registered 17 games with at least two 3-point makes.  He has made at least three treys in a contest eight times and at least five treys three times (high of seven at Arkansas).

OU Fast Fact 
Oklahoma is shooting a Big 12-best .492 from the field.  The last time OU shot better for an entire season was 21 years ago (.495 in 1987-88).  The Sooners have shot at least .500 from the field in nine of the last 15 games (.514 combined over those 15 outings).

"NOTE"WORTHY
• No. 2 seeds are 44-16 (.733) in NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 play since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.  They are 21-23 (.477) in the Elite Eight.
• Oklahoma went 10-4 in the regular season against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams.
• OU's 29 wins are tied for its fifth most in history (the record is 35 in 1987-88).
• Oklahoma's 13-3 Big 12 record tied as its best ever (the 2001-02 team that reached the Final Four also went 13-3 in Big 12 play).
• The Sooners went 8-3 in road games this year, their most road victories since going 8-2 in 1983-84.  They are also 5-1 in neutral site contests.
• The Sooners are 29-3 this year in games Blake Griffin did not miss any time due to injury.  He played only 11 minutes in a Feb. 21 loss at Texas due to a first-half concussion and missed the following game against Kansas (also a loss).
• Griffin is averaging 26.7 points and 17.9 rebounds over his last seven full games (not including the Feb. 21 Texas game when he played 11 minutes).  He is 75-for-105 (.708) from the field in those seven outings.
• Discounting the aforementioned game at Texas, Griffin has registered a double-double in 14 straight outings.
• Over the last seven games, Taylor Griffin is averaging 13.3 points and 6.4 boards while shooting .625 from the floor.
• The Griffin brothers have combined for 55 percent of OU's individual rebounds on the season and are shooting a combined .611 from the field.  One of the two has led the team in rebounding in 33 of 34 games (Ryan Wright paced the Sooners with seven boards Feb. 23 against Kansas when Blake Griffin did not play).
• OU is 26-1 this year when outshooting its opponent and 3-4 when being outshot.
• In Big 12 play, Oklahoma led the league in field goal percentage (.499) and ranked second in 3-point field goal percentage (.392).  It ranked second in field goal percentage defense (.413) and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.332).
• Junior college transfer Juan Pattillo, who came out of a redshirt season in time for the Jan. 12 Texas game but totaled just four minutes over the next three games, is averaging 7.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots in an average of 17.1 minutes over his last 14 outings.  He is 39-for-72 from the field (.542) and 25-for-31 at the foul line (.806) during the stretch.
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis went 28-for-87 (.322) from 3-point range over his first 24 games.  Over the last nine outings, he is 12-for-26 (.462) from long distance.  Included was a career-high 17-point performance against Texas Tech Feb. 14 in which he nailed a career-high five treys on nine attempts.  Davis also went 4-for-6 from deep against Kansas Feb. 23 (all four makes came in the second half).
• After scoring 33 points over his first 26 games this year (1.3 average), back-up point guard Omar Leary has tallied 30 points over the last seven outings (4.3 average).
• OU's 13-game winning streak that ended Feb. 21 at Texas was the fourth longest in school single-season history.   The Sooners also won their first 12 games of the year, giving them two of the seven longest single-season winning streaks in school annals.
• Five Sooners have scored at least 20 points in a game this season.  Blake Griffin has done it a team-high 22 times and is followed by Willie Warren (seven times), Tony Crocker (three times), Taylor Griffin and Austin Johnson (once each).
• Oklahoma has used the same starting lineup in 31 of its 34 games this year (Blake and Taylor Griffin, Crocker, Johnson, Austin).
• The Sooners are 10-0 this year against non-conference foes that have won at least 20 games (American, Davidson, Michigan, Morgan State, Purdue, Tulsa, UAB, USC, Utah and VCU).

OFFENSIVE NOTES
• The Sooners have been held under 70 points just five times this season (61, 64, 68, 69 and 69) and are averaging 79.1 points per game on the year.  They have not finished a season averaging 80.0 or more points a contest since the 1994-95 campaign.
• OU has shot .400 or better from 3-point range in 10 of the last 18 games.  It ranked second in Big 12 play with a .392 3-point mark.
• Tony Crocker and Willie Warren have combined for 92 treys over the last 24 games.  Warren is 51-for-122 (.418) in those 24 outings while Crocker is 41-for-109 (.376).  Over OU's first 10 games, each owned a .273 season 3-point figure (12-for-44).
• In OU's 15 non-league games, Austin Johnson averaged 6.6 points and was 13-for-47 (.277) from 3-point range.  In 16 Big 12 games, he averaged 10.6 points and was 26-for-65 (.400) from long range.  Johnson earned honorable mention all-conference honors.
• Last year, Blake Griffin became the first player in OU history standing at least 6-foot-10 to log three or more handouts in 11 games.  He has done it in 15 games this season.
• Despite a modest .677 team free throw percentage (it ranks ninth in the Big 12), Oklahoma has made more foul shots (606) than its opponents have attempted (599).  OU has shot 296 more free throws than its foes, good for an average of 8.7 more per game.
• Blake Griffin is shooting .588 from the free throw line.  The rest of the team has combined for a .723 mark.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
• Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 (all games) with its .394 field goal percentage defense.  The last time OU held opponents to a lower collective figure for an entire season was 48 years ago (.377 in 1960-61).
• OU has held 16 of its 34 opponents to a sub-.400 field goal mark (13 of them under a .360 figure).
• Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 with its 4.5 blocked shots per contest.  Juan Pattillo ranked third in league play with his 1.3 rejections per outing, while Blake Griffin ranked fifth (1.1) and Taylor Griffin seventh (1.0).  Point guard Austin Johnson has 27 blocks in 34 outings on the year (ranks 14th in the Big 12) for the highest average (0.8) among league guards.

MORE BLAKE
• Blake Griffin entered the week ranked first in the nation in rebounding (14.4) and double-doubles (28), second in field goal percentage (.646) and free throw attempts (9.3 per game), and 11th in scoring (22.5 ppg).
• Griffin's 474 rebounds are the most in a season by an NCAA Division I player since Houston's Akeem Olajuwon grabbed 500 boards in 1983-84.
• The last player to average as many rebounds in a season as Griffin's 14.4 was Wake Forest's Tim Duncan (14.7) in 1996-97.
• Griffin has scored at least 20 points in 22 of his 33 games and has reached the 30-point mark on five occasions (three times in his last seven full games).
• Griffin's 40 points and 23 rebounds (career highs) against Texas Tech Feb. 14 marked the first 40/20 outing of any player nationally since at least the 1996-97 season (the OU Athletics Media Relations Office contacted multiple national research groups whose databases only went back to that year).  His 40 points were the most by a Sooner in 15 seasons while his 23 boards were the most in 20 years.
• Griffin had a streak of eight double-doubles snapped Feb. 21 at Texas (played only 11 minutes).  It was the fourth longest double-double streak in OU history.  He also has three six-game streaks this year (including one currently).
• Griffin has 257 more points and 173 more rebounds in 33 games this year than he did in 33 games all of last season.
• In addition to his three games this year of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, Griffin has five games of at least 20 points and 18 rebounds and two others of at least 16 points and 20 boards.
• Griffin has recorded 14 games of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds this season, more than any player nationally since at least the 1996-97 season.  Duncan (Wake Forest in 1996-97) and Paul Millsap (Louisiana Tech in 2005-06) registered nine 20/15 games, the second most since the start of the 1996-97 season.  The former Big 12 record was seven in a season (Kevin Durant in 2006-07 and Michael Beasley in 2007-08). 

EVEN MORE BLAKE
• Blake Griffin owns a .778 career NCAA Tournament field goal percentage (35-for-45).
• Lost in Griffin's gaudy scoring and rebounding statistics this year are some pretty impressive assist numbers.  The forward ranks third on the team with 2.3 assists per game and has registered at least one handout in 31 of 33 outings.  Last season, Griffin became the first Sooner standing 6-foot-10 or taller to ever dish at least three assists in a game 11 times.  He has recorded at least three assists 15 times already this year.
• Griffin owns four of the eight longest double-double streaks in school history, with all four of those coming this year.  He has assembled a trio of six-game streaks and had an eight-game streak (fourth longest in OU history) snapped Feb. 21 at Texas.
• Griffin has 84 dunks on the season, good for an average of 2.5 per game.  He has 136 slams in 66 career games.
• Griffin owns the best vertical leap (no step) on the team at 37.5 inches, as well as the best max leap (no limit on steps) by reaching 27 inches above the rim.  He also owns an 84.5-inch wingspan (seven feet and one-half inch).

BIG 12 BULLIES
• The Big 12 Conference sent six teams to this year's NCAA Tournament and those squads are 9-3 after the first two rounds.  The nine victories are the most in league history after the first weekend of action.
• The Big 12 has the second most wins and the second best winning percentage in this year's NCAA Tournament (the Big East's seven participants are 11-2).
• Big 12 teams won all six of their first-round games.
• Over the past two seasons, the Big 12 has posted a 21-8 record in NCAA play.  The .724 winning percentage is the best in the nation during that time.  The win total is one less than the Big East (22), which has four more teams overall.

A FRIDAY OKLAHOMA WIN WOULD...
• Improve OU's all-time NCAA Tournament record to 36-25 (.590) and its record in its last six NCAA Tournaments to 12-5 (.706).
• Advance the Sooners to their fifth regional final since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.  It would be OU's third Elite Eight appearance in the last eight years.
• Improve OU's record in regional semifinals games to 5-3 since 1985.
• Up OU's record this year against non-conference foes that have won 20 games to 11-0.
• Give the Sooners their fifth 30-win season in school history and first since 2001-02.
• Even OU's all-time record against Syracuse at 2-2.

A SUNDAY OKLAHOMA WIN WOULD...
• Advance the Sooners to their fifth Final Four in school history and first since 2002.
• Give OU 31 wins on the year, tied for the second most in school history.
• Improve OU's record in regional finals to 3-2 since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
• Up OU's record this year against non-conference foes that have won 20 games to 12-0.

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