Texas A&M (13-17) vs. Oklahoma (15-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 7, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sprint Center (18,555) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: Big 12 Network. Home Record: Texas A&M 11-7, Oklahoma 11-5. Away Record: Texas A&M 1-8, Oklahoma 1-8. Neutral Record: Texas A&M 1-2, Oklahoma 2-2. Conference Record: Texas A&M 4-14, Oklahoma 5-13. Series Record: Oklahoma leads 29-9.
GAMES NOTES: The 16th-annual Big 12 Conference Tournament opens up at the Sprint Center on Wednesday when the ninth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies face off with the eight-seeded Oklahoma Sooners for the second time this week with the chance to play top-seeded Kansas in Thursday's quarterfinal round.
These teams met on Saturday with the eight-seed on the line and with its 65-62 win at home Oklahoma captured the spot and also pushed it's all-time series advantage to 29-9 although Texas A&M won the other meeting this season with an 81-75 victory in overtime at home.
Texas A&M should have had a much higher seed if they could have been just slightly better down the stretch. The Aggies lost five straight and nine of its final 10 games to land at 4-14 in the Big 12 and a sorry 13-17 overall this season.
Oklahoma also had aspirations for a higher seed after opening the season at 9-1 but the Sooners couldn't keep up that pace as once they entered into the conference schedule found wins hard to come by finishing 5-13 in league play and an even 15-15 overall. The Sooners enter postseason play off a win but lost eight of its previous nine before that.
The meeting between these squads earlier this week wasn't as tight throughout as the final score indicates. Oklahoma held a 14-point lead with 15:52 remaining but couldn't hold the double digit lead and allowed the Aggies to cut the lead to one on two occasions including 63-62 with 15 seconds left on the clock. The Sooners got a pair of free throws from Sam Grooms on the next possession and held on for the win.
Texas A&M's premier scorer, Elston Turner, was a bit off in the loss, managing 11 points but finishing the game 4-for-11 from the field and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. The junior guard (14.0 ppg) finished the season at the top of the team's scoring list but deferred to Dash Harris (6.0 ppg, 4.3 apg) in the assists category. Junior forward Khris Middleton (12.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) missed long stretches throughout this season but finished the year strong with 14 points and seven rebounds on Saturday. With Turner and Middleton leading the way the Aggies were still a weak offensive team putting in only 60.9 points per game, which put them above only Texas Tech in the conference. The Aggies did manage to find success on the defensive end, surrendering only 61.1 points per game.
Romero Osby almost doubled his scoring average to lead Oklahoma to the regular season finale win on Saturday. The bruising junior forward (12.7 ppg, 7.4 ) poured in 24 points but had only two rebounds in the game. Andre Fitzgerald, also a junior forward, was the only other player in double figures and did so just barely by scoring 10 points with seven rebounds. He finished the season scoring 12.2 ppg and bringing down 5.1 rpg. Junior guard Steven Pledger (16.6 ppg) had just nine points in the game while Grooms (6.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg) finished the regular season second in the conference in assists by dishing out seven. The Sooners have excelled on the boards led by Osby and Fitzgerald, as Oklahoma brings in 37.2 rebounds per game to rank second in the league.
On Saturday these teams proved just how evenly matched they are which fits as they finished the season with just a game separating them in league records. Oklahoma gets the nod in this matchup with its strong front line and the hopes that Pledger can return to form.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 70, Texas A&M 62
03/07 10:35:10 ET