Villanova and Oklahoma have long standing histories of making the NCAA Tournament and then sort of fizzling out, which makes their Final Four matchup Saturday even more critical to both programs. This will be just the second appearance in the Final Four for either team since 1990 with both the Sooners and Wildcats losing their previous outings SU and ATS.
Though it was very early in the season, Oklahoma did beat Villanova 78-55 in the Pearl Harbor Classic in their lone meeting this season. It was a typical game for OU with their starters combing for 77 percent of their offense while shooting 53.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats struggled mightily in that game with their shooting as the team went just 31.7 percent from the floor and 12.5 percent from three.
You can’t talk about Oklahoma without first talking about Buddy Hield. The senior is the best pure scorer in the nation and has proven that he loves the bright lights, as Hield has averaged 29.2 points per game while shooting 70 percent from the field and 47 percent from beyond the arc during March Madness. Though Buddy Buckets gets most of the attention, the Sooners feature a veteran-laden lineup that has shot an impressive 48.5 percent during the tournament. The key will be protecting the ball as OU can be turnover prone.
If there is any defense left in March Madness that can stop Oklahoma, it is Villanova. The Wildcats have held their opponents, which include both Kansas and Miami, to an average of 63 ppg during the tournament with none breaking the 70-point mark. Offensively, Villanova is balanced with four players averaging double-digit points in the tourney. ‘Nova has struggled against potent backcourts throughout the season and they will need to rectify that against OU.