Let the Madness Begin

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

 No. 2 Seed Oklahoma (27-5) vs. No. 15 Seed Morgan State (23-11) 
 Date & Tip Time

 Thursday, March 19 at approximately 8:40 p.m. CDT

 Location  Kansas City, Mo. | Sprint Center
 Series History  First meeting | OU is 33-25 all-time in NCAA Tournament
 TV

 CBS

 Radio

 Sooner Radio Network
 KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa
 Sirius 126

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

CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION
Making its 26th NCAA Tournament appearance and second under third-year head coach Jeff Capel, Oklahoma (27-5 overall, 13-3 Big 12 Conference) enters Thursday's first-round game against Morgan State (23-11 overall, 13-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) as the South Regional's No. 2 seed.  The contest, which will be played at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., will start at approximately 8:40 p.m. CDT.  Morgan State is the region's No. 15 seed.

Should it advance to second-round play, Oklahoma will face the winner of Thursday's (No. 7 seed) Clemson versus (No. 10 seed) Michigan game on Saturday at 2:20 or 4:50 p.m. CDT.  The Tigers sport a 23-8 record while the Wolverines are 20-13.  Also in Kansas City for the West Regional are No. 2 seed Memphis, No. 7 seed California, No. 10 seed Maryland and No. 15 seed Cal State Northridge.

All of OU's NCAA Tournament games will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action.  Thursday's and Saturday's games will be televised regionally by CBS (KWTV Channel 9 in OKC and KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa) with Tim Brando and Mike Gminski announcing.

TICKET INFORMATION
All-session and single-session tickets for the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship are available for purchase at the Ford Center box office and via all Ticketmaster outlets. Prices are $40, $50 and $55 per session, depending on location. On game days, fans can buy tickets at the box office beginning at 9:30 a.m. until halftime of the last scheduled contest of the day.

OKLAHOMA AND THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• OU is making its 26th NCAA Tournament appearance and 13th in the last 15 years.  It owns a 33-25 all-time record in the event.
• 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).
• 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 9-5 in its last five NCAA Tournaments, with a Final Four showing in 2002 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2003.
• OU is 5-2 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).

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 21.9 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 63.5 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 9.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 53.7 FG%
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 9.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 36.1 3FG%
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4

207
Fr.
 14.7 ppg, 3.0 apg, 37.7 3FG%
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 8.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 33.9 3FG% 

THE LAST TIME IN KANSAS CITY
The last NCAA Tournament game Oklahoma played in Kansas City was for the 1988 national title.  The top-seeded Sooners lost to No. 6 seed Kansas, 83-79, at Kemper Arena after beating the Jayhawks twice earlier that season.  Billy Tubbs' Sooners beat fellow No. 1 seed Arizona in the semifinals two days earlier, 86-78.  That OU squad featured three future first-round NBA Draft picks in Harvey Grant (1988), Mookie Blaylock (1989) and Stacey King (1989).

OU VS. POSSIBLE KANSAS CITY OPPONENTS
• Oklahoma has never faced Morgan State or Clemson in men's basketball.
• The Sooners are 0-2 all-time against Michigan.  The Sooners and Wolverines first met on Nov. 27, 1988, in the championship game of the Maui Classic with third-ranked Michigan posting a 91-80 win over fourth-ranked OU.  Michigan, which went on to win the national title that season, was led by Rumeal Robinson's 20 points and Sean Higgins' 19.  Stacey King paced OU with 27 points while Tyrone Jones added 18.  The programs met again in the 2004 NIT second round in Ann Arbor with the Wolverines earning a 63-52 victory.  Dion Harris scored a team-high 17 points for U-M while Brandon Foust led the Sooners with 14.

CAPEL AND THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• This is the third NCAA Tournament for Jeff Capel as a head coach.  In 2004 (his second year at VCU), Capel guided the Rams to a No. 13 seed and a near upset of No. 4 seed Wake Forest.  The Demon Deacons, who featured point guard Chris Paul, held on for a 79-78 win in Raleigh, N.C.  Last year, in his second season at Oklahoma, Capel guided the sixth-seeded Sooners to a 72-64 first-round win over No. 11 seed Saint Joseph's in Birmingham, Ala., before losing to No. 3 seed Louisville by a 78-48 score.
• Capel participated in three NCAA Tournaments as a player at Duke, including his freshman year in 1994 when the second-seeded Blue Devils advanced to the national title game.  Capel, who started the contest, finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists in a 76-72 loss to No. 1 seed Arkansas in Charlotte, N.C.
• Capel's 1996 Duke squad (No. 8 seed) lost in the first round to No. 9 seed Eastern Michigan (75-60 in Indianapolis) while his 1997 team (No. 2 seed) beat No. 15 seed Murray State (71-68 in Charlotte) before falling in the second round to No. 10 seed Providence (98-87).

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Blake Griffin | So. | Forward
 • Big 12 Player of the Year
 • Averaging 25.3 points and 19.0 rebounds over his last four full games (shooting .676).
 • Leads nation in rebounding (14.3) and double-doubles (26)
 • Entered week ranked No. 3 nationally in field goal percentage (.634) and 13th in scoring (21.9 ppg)

   

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 and FoxSports.com.  The 6-10, 251-pounder is averaging 21.9 points and 14.3 rebounds per game while shooting .635 from the field, all Big 12 bests.  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 fourth in the league with his 1.3 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 holds the school and Big 12 records for rebounds in a season (444).  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 (14.3).  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.
• Griffin's 26 double-doubles are a single-season school record.  Alvan Adams (1973-74) and Garfield Heard (1969-70) held the previous mark with 21.  Griffin needs two more double-doubles to tie Michael Beasley's Big 12 record of 28 last season.
• With a .635 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 .605 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 needs eight more free throw attempts to tie Stacey King's single-season school record (294 in 1988-89).  He has already broken 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 9.2 (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 as the most ever in a league contest (Texas' Kevin Durant in 2006-07 and Kansas' Nick Collison in 2002-03 also grabbed 23 boards in a Big 12 outing).
• Griffin has recorded a Big 12-record 13 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 12th in the league, 3.0 assists (ranks 15th) and 1.2 steals (ranks second on team).  He is shooting .478 from the field, .377 from 3-point distance and .780 from the free throw line (ranks 12th 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 fifth on OU's freshman scoring chart (469 points), first in 3-pointers (58), fourth in free throws made (103), fifth in assists (97) 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 58 3-pointers and has registered 15 games with at least two 3-point makes.  He has made at least three treys in a contest seven times and at least five treys three times (high of seven at Arkansas).

OU Fast Fact 
The Sooners played 14 games against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams and went 10-4.  The wins came against No. 5 seeds Purdue and Utah, No. 7 seed Texas, No. 8 seed Oklahoma State (twice), No. 9 seed Texas A&M (twice), No. 10 seed USC, No. 11 seed VCU and No. 14 seed American.  The losses came to No. 3 seeds Kansas and Missouri, No. 7 seed Texas and No. 8 seed Oklahoma State.

"NOTE"WORTHY
• Only twice in its history has OU won more than 27 times through its first 32 games of a season (29 in both 1983-84 and 1987-88).
• OU'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.
• Five Sooners have scored at least 20 points in a game this season.  Blake Griffin has done it a team-high 20 times and is followed by Willie Warren (seven times), Tony Crocker (three times),  Taylor Griffin and Austin Johnson (once each).
• The Sooners are 27-3 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).
• Blake Griffin is averaging 25.2 points and 19.0 rebounds over his last five full games (not including the Feb. 21 Texas game when he played 11 minutes).  He is 50-for-74 (.676) from the field in those five outings.
• Discounting the aforementioned game at Texas, Blake Griffin has registered a double-double in 12 straight outings.
• Over the last five games, Taylor Griffin is averaging 13.6 points and 6.6 boards while shooting .619 from the floor.
• The Griffin brothers have combined for 54 percent of OU's individual rebounds on the season and are shooting a combined .602 from the field (364-for-605).  One of the two has led the team in rebounding in 31 of 32 games (Ryan Wright paced the Sooners with seven boards against Kansas when Blake Griffin did not play).
• Oklahoma has used the same starting lineup in 29 of its 32 games this year (Blake and Taylor Griffin, Crocker, Johnson, Austin).
• OU is 24-1 this year when outshooting its opponent and just 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 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots in an average of 18.8 minutes over his last 12 outings.  He is 37-for-67 from the field (.552) 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 seven outings, he is 12-for-25 (.480) 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 five outings (6.0 average).  He is 6-for-16 (.375) from 3-point range over those five contests.  Nine of his 12 free throw attempts on the year (he is 10-for-12) have also come during the five-game stretch.
• 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.
• The Sooners are 8-0 this year against non-conference foes that have won at least 20 games (American, Davidson, Purdue, Tulsa, UAB, USC, Utah and VCU).

OFFENSIVE NOTES
• Oklahoma is shooting a Big 12-best .489 from the field.  The last time OU shot better for an entire season was 21 years ago (.491 in 1988-89).  The Sooners have shot at least .500 from the field in eight of the last 13 games (.509 combined over those 13 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 10 of the last 16 games.  It ranked second in Big 12 play with a .392 3-point mark.
• Willie Warren and Tony Crocker have combined for 87 treys over the last 22 games.  Warren is 46-for-110 (.418) in those 22 outings while Crocker is 41-for-103 (.398).  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 distance.  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 14 games this season.
• Despite a modest .681 team free throw percentage (it ranks ninth in the Big 12), Oklahoma has made just 11 fewer foul shots than its opponents have attempted.  OU has shot 256 more free throws than its foes, good for an average of 8.0 more per game.
• Blake Griffin is shooting .591 from the free throw line.  The rest of the team has combined for a .727 mark.
• Oklahoma has made at least one 3-pointer in 416 consecutive games (last one without a trey was at Memphis on Dec. 23, 1996).

DEFENSIVE NOTES
• Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 (all games) with its .398 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 14 of its 32 opponents to a sub-.400 field goal mark (12 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 25 blocks in 32 outings on the year (ranks 15th in the Big 12) for the highest average (0.8) among league guards.

MORE BLAKE
• Blake Griffin enters the NCAA Tournament leading the nation in rebounding (14.3) and double-doubles (26), while ranking second in free throw attempts (9.2 per game), third in field goal percentage (.635) and 13th in scoring (21.9 ppg).
• The last NCAA Division I player to average as many rebounds in a season as Griffin's 14.3 was Wake Forest's Tim Duncan (14.7) in 1996-97.
• Griffin has scored at least 20 points in 20 of his 31 games and has reached the 30-point mark on four occasions (twice in his last five full games).
• Griffin's 40 points and 23 rebounds (career highs) against Texas Tech Feb. 14 marked the first such 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).  Only two previous Sooners have accomplished the feat (Wayman Tisdale in 1983-84 and Alvan Adams in 1974-75).  His 40 points were the most by a Sooner in 15 seasons while his 23 boards were the most in 20 years.
• Griffin has 11 double-doubles in his last 12 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 a pair of six-game streaks this year.
• Griffin has 196 more points (680) and 143 more rebounds (444) in 31 games this year than he did in 33 games 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 13 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). 
• One of the country's best passing big men, Griffin has at least two assists in 23 of his 31 games and at least three in 14 outings.

EVEN MORE BLAKE
• Lost in Blake Griffin's gaudy scoring and rebounding statistics 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 29 of 31 outings (did not have one in his 11 minutes against Texas Feb. 21 or in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals against Oklahoma State last Thursday).  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 14 times already this year.
• Griffin owns three of the six longest double-double streaks in school history, with all three of those coming this year.  He has assembled a pair of six-game streaks and had an eight-game streak (fourth longest in OU history) snapped Feb. 21 at Texas.
• Griffin has 78 dunks on the season, good for an average of 2.5 per game.  He has 130 slams in 64 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).

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