John Anthony AvatarJOHN ANTHONY






Two long time rivals out of the old Southwest Conference and the Big 12 meet tonight at the Honda Center in Anaheim as the (28-8) Texas A&M Aggies take on the (27-7) Oklahoma Sooners in Western Regional action. Texas A&M is off the most improbable win in NCAA college basketball history, coming back from 12 down with just 35 seconds left to dispatch Northern Iowa. Oklahoma handled Cal Bakersfield and VCU to get here and CBSSportsline would have the Sooners No.4  overall if the teams were to be re-seeded today. The line opened at Oklahoma -1.5 and 145 but Sooner and Over money has sent the number to Sooners -2.5 and 147 at this writing.

The Aggies have won 10 of their L11 games overall with the only loss coming in overtime to Kentucky in the final of the SEC  tournament. This is a battle of two veteran outfits as both teams start three seniors. A&M’s best player is Danuel House  (15.8, 4.9, 3.2) who at  6’7″ is a terrible matchup problem from his guard position. Jalen Jones (15.4, 7.1) is an SMU transfer and is another tough to handle 6’7″ guard/forward/swingman combo. The Aggies are long and athletic and led the SEC in points against defense.

When you say Oklahoma you of course are saying Buddy Hield (25.4, 5.6, 2.1) who knocks down almost 46% of his threes and will get a lot of Player of the Year consideration when the awards are handed out. Hield has had some hot and cold shooting spells down the stretch but always seems to manage to manage to get his points. Isiah Cousins (13.1, 4.6, 4.6 ) is another savvy senior who does lots of things well. Ryan Spangler (10.3, 9.1) is the Sooners only muscle and he will need to stay out of foul trouble and control the defensive glass against the deeper Aggie outfit.

As previously mentioned, both teams are very experienced. The Sooners feature four players that have started together over  100 games. Oklahoma won the last meeting 64-52 but that was two years ago and these are very two different teams at this point. The Big 12 is 12-7 vs. the SEC this year, 6-4 ATS when favored. The Sooners are a perfect 13-0 outside of conference this year and also 10-1 in their L11. That said, the loss came against West Virginia in the Big 12 tournament and a team that  is similar in make up and style of play to Texas A&M. While not exactly a revelation, this game will come down to Oklahoma knocking down shots and keeping the Aggies off the offensive glass. Hield and Cousins are going to get plenty of attention on the perimeter. If the Sooners do not shoot lights out from the start, this is gong to be a slow paced grind it out type of game and our first inclination would be to look at the under.

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