2018 NCAA Tournament
Midwest Region – First Round
#7 Rhode Island Rams vs #10 Oklahoma Sooners
Thursday, March 15, 2018, 12:15 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opening Line: Rhode Island -1 1/2
Current Line: Rhode island -2
Opening Total: 159 1/2
Current Total: 158
Opening Money Line: Rhode Island -133 / Oklahoma +113
Current Money Line: Rhode Island -135 / Oklahoma +115
The Oklahoma Sooners began the season 14-2 and were the #4 team in the country. However, they have gone 4-11 since then and have not won a game outside of Norman in 2018. Still the Sooners squeaked into the field of the NCAA Tournament somewhat controversially as the #10 seed in the Midwest Region. Oklahoma will take on the #7 Rhode Island Rams of the Atlantic 10 in the first round Thursday in Pittsburgh. The winner will face either the #2 Duke Blue Devils or #15 Iona Gaels in the second round Saturday. The Rams and Sooners have never met before.
Oklahoma is 18-13 and went 8-10 in the Big 12. The Sooners are coached by Lon Kruger. Oklahoma lost to Bedlam rival Oklahoma State 71-60 in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament last week. The Sooners are 10-20 ATS and the total is 18-12 this season. Oklahoma is making their 30th trip to the NCAA tournament and fifth in six years after missing last year.
Rhode Island is coached by Danny Hurley. The Rams are 25-7 and won the Atlantic 10 regular season title with a 15-3 record. The Rams lost to Davidson 58-57 in the A-10 Championship Game last Sunday. Rhode Island is 16-31-1 ATS and the total is 15-15 this season. The Rams are making their 10th trip to the NCAA Tournament and second straight.
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Oklahoma is outscoring teams 85-82 this season. The Sooners are #4 in scoring nationally but #336 in points allowed. Oklahoma is shooting 46.4% from the field and 36.3% from three point range. The Sooners make 74.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.5% from the field and 36.1% from three point range. Oklahoma averages 37.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 35.6 per game. The Sooners average 15.1 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.7 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 6.8 steals and 4.4 blocks per game.
True Freshman point guard Trae Young has had a sensational year and is a player of the year candidate. He averages 27.4 points, 8.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game. He also averages 5.2 turnovers a game. Christian James averages 12.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Brady Manek averages 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Kameron McGusty averages 8 points and 2 rebounds per game. He is probable with an illness. Rashard Odomes averages 7.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Khadeem Lattin has 6.8 points, 6 rebounds 1.9 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. Jamuni McNeace averages 6.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Kristian Doolittle, Matt Freeman, and Jordan Shepherd will also get time in the rotation.
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Rhode Island is outscoring teams 76-68 this season. The Rams are shooting 45.9% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Rhode Island makes 70.7% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 45.1% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. Rhode Island averages 34.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.6 per game. Rhode Island averages 15.2 assists, 10.8 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 3.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.4 assists, 16.2 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.
Jared Terrell averages 17.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. E.C. Matthews averages 13.1 points and 4 rebounds per game. Jeff Dowtin averages 9.7 points, 5.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds. Stanford Robinson averages 9.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Andre Berry averages 9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Cyril Langevine and Jarvis Garrett will also get time in the rotation.
Oklahoma is 4-10 ATS in non-conference games, 3-8 in NCAA Tournament games, 2-6 after a straight up loss, 2-7 after failing to cover, 3-13 overall, 3-14 against teams with winning records, and 1-6 in neutral site games.
Rhode Island is 7-3 ATS in neutral site games, 4-10 after a straight up loss, 1-4 against teams with winning records and overall.
Oklahoma has struggled and is one of the worst defensive teams in the country. Young is sensational but is facing a lot of double and even triple teams. He makes some incredible plays, but also too many bad decisions and Rhode Island is great at forcing turnovers. Two points seems like a steal for the Rams, but it is March and stranger things have happened. I just don’t think the Sooners can get back to the dominant team that started off 14-2.