The Roadrunners of Cal-State Bakersfield have a gargantuan task on their hands, as they not only have to stop one of the nation’s top scorers, but also hold in check what is actually, considering the circumstances, a rather balanced lineup. They will oppose the Oklahoma Sooners in Friday’s NCAA Tournament action, with game time at 4 PM ET at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice on this game, and then even after the opening tipoff, they can partake in real-time wagering through the facilities of Live Betting Extra.
Of course, when we talk about the Sooners, we have to begin with Buddy Hield, who could well be named the national player of the year. He’s got a 25-point-per-game average and has proven himself to be near unstoppable, even against some of the nation’s best teams. Case in point – he had 46 points at the Allen Fieldhouse against Kansas, as Oklahoma got very close to dealing the Jayhawks a home defeat, losing in triple-overtime. He also exploded against LSU, as he was going into a much-hyped showdown against Ben Simmons, who was touted as the best freshman in the country. Field hit seven triples in the final 20 minutes of that game. And then, against Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament, he scored 39 points.
Bakersfield has gotten the job done on defense, to be sure. But of course, they haven’t gone up against this kind of “scoring machine” before.
In the NCAA Tournament betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Oklahoma is the big favorite:
Oklahoma, which averages 80.4 points per game, is by no means a one-man show. Certainly Hield is the #1 option, but in the starting lineup you also have Isaiah Cousins, Jordan Woodard and Ryan Spangler averaging in double digits. However, we must make note that other teams have stopped healed on the way to beating Oklahoma. The most recent occurrence was in the semi-finals of the conference tournament, as West Virginia, a team that is very good at taking away their opponents primary option, limited Hield to just six points with one field goal. And if you listen to Rod Barnes, Bakersfield’s head coach, he believes the Mountaineers laid out a blueprint for his defensive strategy, which will include denying Buddy the basketball.
BetAnySports patrons will have to sit back and wait to see how that succeeds, or fails, we guess. But we do know that the Sooners can burn other teams from the outside, getting 42.6% from beyond the three-point arc. Of course, defense is not necessarily Oklahoma’s strong suit, and Bakersfield comes with a starting lineup that has incredible balance; in fact, all five of the starters average between 10.3 and 12.9 points per game.
Expect them to try to go inside with Aly Ahmed, a 250-pound bulk who is the team’s leading scorer. But if they can’t slow things down in the half-court on the other end, this is a potential nightmare for them, as the last thing they want to do is get into a balls-to-the-wall shootout. Remember that Oklahoma is playing this game very close to home, and that is not something that occurs all that often in the NCAA Tournament.
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