Rushed Reactions: #2 Oklahoma 80, #1 Oregon 68

Posted by Andrew Murawa on March 26th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

Buddy Hield Looked Like a Champion Today (USA Today Images)

Buddy Hield Looked Like a Champion Today (USA Today Images)

  1. Sure, Buddy’s Great, But There’s More. Don’t worry, we’re going to get to your National Player of the Year favorite, Buddy Hield, and his 37 points, in a moment. But there is so much more to Oklahoma than just a star shooter dropping threes in from 25 feet out. This is a complete team. The Sooners have at times this year had trouble on the glass at both end of the floor. Today, the entire team chipped in to help the relatively thin frontcourt compile a significant advantage on the glass, grabbing 42 percent of the available offensive rebounds. Freshman Christian James again provided a big spark from the wing, grabbing 10 boards of his own to aid the effort. Then there’s Hield’s backcourt mates Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard. They’re not as offensively explosive or as flashy as their more famous running mate, but both are highly efficient and always in control. While Hield definitely has the ability to carry the team for long stretches of time, there are more reasons than he that the Sooners are Final Four-bound.
  2. Oregon First Half Out of Sorts. Oregon wasn’t going to win with Buddy Hield playing so well regardless, but the Ducks didn’t do themselves any favors either. They seemed tentative throughout the first half, always a step late to loose balls. They had at least four mindless turnovers. They left points at the free throw line. And three-point shots just weren’t falling. Some of those struggles were certainly caused by the Sooners, who pressured the Ducks at the top of the key and took ball-handlers like Casey Benson, Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks out of their rhythm. But after playing fast and loose against Duke on Thursday night, the Ducks couldn’t bring the same level of energy in this one. They gave up 15 second-chance points and 12 points off turnovers, building up an 18-point halftime deficit that they never had a realistic chance to erase.
  3. Three-Point Shooting and Dunks. In the first half, the Sooners put on an offensive clinic, scoring 1.33 points per possession by hitting threes and getting easy looks at the rim. Of their 36 first half field goal attempts, 14 came from three while an equal number came at the bucket. Oregon adjusted somewaht in the second half through better energy and help defense, limiting the Sooners to just three point-blank looks in the second half. The difference was apparent in the Sooners’ production, as they dipped to just 0.97 PPP in the second half. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but preventing the Sooners from getting easy looks at the rim goes a long way towards limiting their oft-prolific offense.

Star of the GameBuddy Hield, Oklahoma. He’s just amazing. He runs off screens so well that even with all 10 defensive eyes on him, he’s can get free. And then given just a split second and his lightning-fast release, he gets off a good shot in just the slimmest of windows. When he does — light’s out. Aside from that, his ability to draw such defensive attention opens things up for his teammates, whether Cousins and Woodard on the perimeter, or the scrappy frontcourt duo of Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin. His step-back threes in a defender’s face and 25-footers with a flick of a wrist get the most attention, but he can also take a guy off the bounce. Today he also showed off that he can grab an offensive rebound with one hand and put it back in for a dunk with the other. Insane. Saturday afternoon in Anaheim was a terrific time for a full-on Buddy show to the tune of 37 points on just 20 field goal attempts.

Sights & Sounds. Step Up Your Heckling Game. With Hield already knocking down his first three early in the game, an Oregon fan behind press row took advantage of a lull in the action to greet Hield with an unoriginal “Buddy, you suck!”  Moments later, Hield drilled a step-back three in barely a glimmer of open space over a defender. First, if you’re going to take the time to heckle someone, you need to come up with something more original than that. Second, questioning the ability of one of the most cold-blooder bombers in the nation is probably not a wise strategy. Third, maybe you shouldn’t double down a few minutes later, with Hield already sitting at 11 points following another three by yelling out: “Buddy, you’re terrible!”

Wildcard. Oregon/Oklahoma history. This was the third-ever meeting between these two programs. The first was in the inaugural Final Four way back in 1939, when Oregon’s Tall Firs beat the Sooners and advanced to win the NCAA Tournament. The two teams again met the following December, with Oregon taking another victory.


  • Buddy Hield, on his long three at the end of the first half:  “That was my favorite shot, because right after that I looked at Kobe and he saluted me.”
  • Hield, on Oregon comparing him to Kobe Bryant: “I’m not Kobe Bryant.”
  • Elgin Cook, on trying to guard Hield. “We tried to crowd him, tried our best to corral him, but he just made a lot of tough shots.”
  • Dana Altman, on the defense on Hield: “We thought Elgin could stay after him, but he hit some tough ones. He hit some deep ones. I don’t fault Elgin’s effort, he just hit some shots. We accomplished part of what we wanted to do; we were able to get him to turn it over six times by pressuring him. But he just backed up and hit a few. I mean, he hit three or four where I thought we guarded him pretty good and he just hit them.”

What’s Next? Oklahoma advances to the program’s fifth Final Four in history (the first since Hollis Price’s group in 2002) and Lon Kruger’s second (Florida – 1994). The Sooners will face the winner of this evening’s Kansas/Villanova matchup, with the potential for Oklahoma/Kansas Part III in the works. For an Oregon team that set a school record with 31 wins, Elgin Cook and Dwayne Benjamin graduate and the rest of the Pac-12 will wait on the professional decisions of Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Chris Boucher.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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