OU vs. UNC For Right to Final Four
|No. 2 Seed Oklahoma (30-5) vs. No. 1 Seed North Carolina (31-4)|
|Date & Tip Time||
Sunday, March 29 at 4:05 p.m. CDT
|Location||Memphis, Tenn. | FedExForum|
|Series History||North Carolina leads 2-0|
Sooner Radio Network
|Online Coverage||Live Stats | Live Blog | NCAA Central|
|Game Info||Game Notes (PDF)|
REGIONAL FINAL INFORMATION
Making its seventh NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance and third in the last eight seasons, No. 2 seed Oklahoma (30-5 overall, 13-3 Big 12 Conference) will meet No. 1 seed North Carolina (31-4, 13-3 ACC) in Sunday's South Regional final in Memphis, Tenn. The contest, which will be played at FedExForum, will start at 4:05 p.m. CDT. The Sooners are vying for their fifth Final Four appearance.
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 seventh Elite Eight appearance (1947, 1985, 1988, 2002 and 2003 were the others) and the program's third in the last eight years. OU is 4-2 in Elite Eight games.
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 12-5 in its last six NCAA Tournaments, with a Final Four showing in 2002 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2003.
OU is 8-2 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). This year they have beaten No. 15 seed Morgan State (82-74), No. 10 seed Michigan (73-63) and No. 3 seed Syracuse (84-71).
|Oklahoma's Projected Starters|
|22.7 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 65.1 FG%|
|9.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 54.2 FG%|
|9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 36.0 3FG%|
|14.7 ppg, 3.1 apg, 38.0 3FG%|
|8.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 35.2 3FG%|
FRIDAY'S SYRACUSE RECAP
Oklahoma never trailed in an 84-71 win over No. 3 seed Syracuse. The Sooners shot .542 from the field and .429 (9-for-21) from 3-point range.
OU issued an 11-2 run to end the first half and outscored the Orange 17-3 to start the second. The Sooners' 56-29 lead with 15:10 left to play marked Syracuse's largest deficit of the season (27 points).
Blake Griffin registered 30 points and 14 rebounds to set the Big 12 record for double-doubles in a season (29). He was 12-for-15 from the field and added three assists. It was his 15th double-double in his last 15 full games (got hurt Feb. 21 at Texas after playing just 11 minutes) and his fourth 30-point outing in his last eight full contests.
Tony Crocker scored a career-high 28 points on 9-for-17 field goal and 6-for-11 3-point shooting. He added two assists and two steals. Crocker, who was 1-for-15 from 3-point range and totaled 21 points over his previous five outings, snapped a seven-game streak of single-digit scoring.
Austin Johnson played a team-high 38 minutes and finished with nine points, five boards, six assists and three steals at the point guard spot.
Taylor Griffin recorded nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. The senior was 4-for-8 from the field, giving him 12 games of .500-or-better field goal shooting in his last 13 outings.
Both teams committed 18 turnovers, but Oklahoma posted a 32-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
OU held Syracuse to nine points under its season average (80.4 ppg). The Sooners limited the Orange to 26 first-half points on .355 shooting (0-for-10 from 3-point range).
The victory pushed Oklahoma's total to 30 on the year, giving the Sooners their fifth 30-win season and first since 2001-02.
OU evened its all-time record against Syracuse to 2-2 (1-1 in the NCAA Tournament).
OKLAHOMA-NORTH CAROLINA SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 0-2 record against North Carolina. The programs met most recently in the 1990 NCAA Tournament second round in Austin, Texas, where the eighth-seeded Tar Heels ousted No. 1 seed (and No. 1 ranked) OU by a 79-77 score. Carolina's Rick Fox hit a shot at the buzzer for the victory. Fox led UNC with 23 points while William Davis paced the Sooners with 22.
North Carolina also recorded a 77-69 win during the 1982-83 season in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. Sam Perkins netted 23 points and was followed by Michael Jordan's 22, while OU's Wayman Tisdale led all scorers with 26 points.
Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel was born in Fayetteville, N.C., and attended South View High School (Hope Mills, N.C.) and Duke University (1994-97). His most famous collegiate play was his buzzer-beating, double-overtime-forcing, 30-foot runner against North Carolina his sophomore season. Capel claims his favorite team as a child was North Carolina.
Capel's younger brother, Jason, was a four-year starter at North Carolina (1999-2002) and finished his career with 1,447 points. He helped the Tar Heels to the 2000 Final Four as a sophomore.
North Carolina assistant coach Joe Holladay was a four-year letterwinner at Oklahoma (1966-69) who served as team captain as a senior. He earned a degree in history in 1969 and is a member of the Oklahoma High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
NOTING OU'S 2009 NCAA TOURNAMENT
Oklahoma has won all three of its 2009 NCAA Tournament games by double digits. It beat 15th-seeded Morgan State by 28 (82-54), 10th-seeded Michigan by 10 (73-63) and third-seeded Syracuse by 13 (84-71).
The Sooners are shooting a combined .544 from the field while holding their foes to a .368 mark.
OU has trailed for just 5:40 out of 120 minutes. Morgan State led the Sooners for 54 seconds and Michigan led for 4:46.
Oklahoma has started well in the second half in each of its three contests. It outscored Morgan State 10-4 over the first 3:50 of the second stanza, outscored Michigan 12-2 over the first 5:13 and outscored Syracuse 17-3 over the first 4:50.
Sophomore forward Blake Griffin is averaging 30.3 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting .787 from the field (37-for-47). He finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds against Morgan State, 33 points and 17 boards versus Michigan and 30 points and 14 caroms against Syracuse. His 14 field goals and 17 rebounds against the Wolverines tied OU NCAA Tournament records, while his 33 points were the fifth most in school tourney history.
Through Friday, Griffin leads this year's NCAA Tournament (minimum two games) in scoring average (30.3), points (91) and field goals (37), while ranking third in rebounds (91) and field goal percentage (.787), fifth in rebounding average (14.7) and sixth in free throws made (17).
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.
Joining Griffin in averaging double figures in scoring are Willie Warren (12.7 ppg), Tony Crocker (12.0) and Taylor Griffin (11.3). Austin Johnson is averaging 9.3 points per game.
Through Friday, Taylor Griffin ranks first in this year's NCAA Tournament in total steals (nine) and third in steals per game (3.0).
Oklahoma's starters have played 510 of a possible 600 minutes.
OU has attempted 77 free throws (25.7 average) while its opponents have attempted 33 (11.0 average).
GRIFFIN'S RECORDS-BREAKING 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 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds per game while shooting .651 from the field, all Big 12 bests. Nationally, he ranks first in rebounding and double-doubles (29), 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 (488). 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 29 double-doubles represent single-season school and Big 12 records. 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 .651 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 .616 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 316 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 league record.
OU Fast Fact
Blake Griffin is the first player since Houston's Elvin Hayes in 1968 to register at least 91 points and 44 rebounds over their first three games of an NCAA Tournament. Only three other players have ever done it in NCAA Tournament history (Dayton's Henry Finkel in 1966, West Virginia's Jerry West in 1959 and '60 and Kansas' Wilt Chamberlain in 1957).
Entering Saturday, No. 2 seeds are 21-23 (.477) in NCAA Tournament Elite Eight play since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Sooners are 30-3 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 27.1 points and 17.4 rebounds over his last eight full games (not including the Feb. 21 Texas game when he played 11 minutes). He is 87-for-121 (.719) from the field in those eight outings.
Discounting the aforementioned game at Texas, Griffin has registered a double-double in 15 straight outings.
Over the last eight games, Taylor Griffin is averaging 12.8 points and 6.3 boards while shooting .609 from the floor.
The Griffin brothers have combined for 55 percent of OU's individual rebounds on the season and are shooting a combined .614 from the field. One of the two has led the team in rebounding in 34 of 35 games (Ryan Wright paced the Sooners with seven boards Feb. 23 against Kansas when Blake Griffin did not play).
OU is 27-1 this year when outshooting its opponent and 3-4 when being outshot.
Willie Warren ranks third on OU's all-time freshman scoring chart (507 points), first in 3-pointers (65), fourth in free throws made (110), fifth in assists (110) and fifth in steals (40).
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).
Five Sooners have scored at least 20 points in a game this season. Blake Griffin has done it a team-high 23 times and is followed by Willie Warren (seven times), Tony Crocker (four times), Taylor Griffin and Austin Johnson (once each).
Oklahoma has used the same starting lineup in 32 of its 35 games this year (Blake and Taylor Griffin, Crocker, Warren, Johnson).
The Sooners are 11-0 this year against non-conference foes that have won at least 20 games (American, Davidson, Michigan, Morgan State, Purdue, Syracuse, Tulsa, UAB, USC, Utah and VCU).
Oklahoma is shooting .493 from the field to rank second nationally (Utah State shot .496). 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 10 of the last 16 games (.516 combined over those 16 outings).
The Sooners have been held under 70 points just five times this season (61, 64, 68, 69 and 69) and are averaging 79.2 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 11 of the last 19 games. It ranked second in Big 12 play with a .392 3-point mark.
Tony Crocker and Willie Warren have combined for 100 treys over the last 25 games. Warren is 53-for-127 (.417) in those 25 outings while Crocker is 47-for-120 (.392). 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 16 games this season.
Despite a modest .676 team free throw percentage (it ranks ninth in the Big 12), Oklahoma has made more foul shots (617) than its opponents have attempted (613). OU has shot 300 more free throws than its foes, good for an average of 8.6 more per game.
Blake Griffin is shooting .589 from the free throw line. The rest of the team has combined for a .722 mark.
Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 (all games) with its .395 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 35 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 28 blocks in 35 outings on the year (ranks 14th in the Big 12) for the highest average (0.8) among league guards.
Blake Griffin ranks first in the nation in rebounding (14.4) and double-doubles (29), second in field goal percentage (.651) and free throw attempts (9.3 per game), and 11th in scoring (22.7 ppg).
Griffin's 488 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 23 of his 34 games and has reached the 30-point mark on six occasions (three times in the last five games).
Griffin has recorded a double-double in each of the last seven games. He 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 two six-game streaks this year.
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 .783 career NCAA Tournament field goal percentage (47-for-60).
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 32 of 34 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 16 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 pair of six-game streaks, a seven-game streak (current) and an eight-game streak (fourth longest in OU history).
Griffin has 87 dunks on the season, good for an average of 2.6 per game. He has 139 slams in 67 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 11-4 after the first three rounds. The 11 victories are tied for the most in league history after the regional semifinals.
The Big 12 has the second most wins and the second best winning percentage (.733) in this year's NCAA Tournament (the Big East's seven participants are 15-3).
Big 12 teams won all six of their first-round games.
Over the past two seasons, the Big 12 has posted a 23-9 record in NCAA play (through Friday). The .710 winning percentage is the best in the nation during that time. The win total is three less than the Big East (26), which has four more teams overall.
A SUNDAY 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 13-5.
Advance the Sooners to their fifth Final Four in school history and first since 2002.
Give the Sooners a victory over their highest-ranked opponent since beating No. 1 Kansas in the 2002 Big 12 Tournament championship game (North Carolina is ranked No. 2 in the latest AP poll).
Give OU 31 wins on the year, tied for the second most in school history.
Improve OU's record in regional finals to 5-2.
Up OU's record this year against non-conference foes that have won 20 games to 12-0.
Give the Sooners their first ever victory against North Carolina (would be a 1-2 record).