March Madness

Preview: 3 Oklahoma vs 11 Dayton


#3 – Oklahoma

Boomer Sooner as they say, a victory in the NCAA tournament is always cause for a celebration especially on the heels of a 3-11 Buddy Hield performance from down town. The Big 12 Player of the Year still came up with 15 points and seven rebounds, but a big game from TaShawn Thomas (18 points, 7-11 from the field with eight rebounds) saved the day against a tough Albany squad. During the regular season, Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins joined Thomas and Hield as double-figure scorers and any chance of moving to the second weekend of the tournament will hinge on the quartet’s return to glory and their ability to avoid foul trouble.

– Cody Toppert

#11 – Dayton

There’s no place like home, as the Flyers will attest to after eliminating the Providence Friars 66-53 an hour away from Dayton in Columbus, Ohio. Led by the 20 points and nine rebounds of Dyshawn Pierre, they now have a Sunday date against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Round of 32. The Flyers’ defense was stellar, as they held the Friars to 33 percent shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers. It never hurts when you can make over three times as many free throws as your opponents attempts, either, as the Flyers went 22-30 from the line compared to 3-7 for the Friars. The Flyers can’t bank on getting to the line that often against the Sooners, who will be able to defend them a lot more effectively than the Friars were able to. The Sooners feature two of the tournaments better players in Tashawn Thomas and Buddy Hield. If they Flyers can keep them contained, a spot in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season is very possible.

– Yannis Koutroupis

Who Wins?

Yannis Koutroupis: Oklahoma wins

Cody Toppert: Oklahoma wins

Dan Barto: Oklahoma wins

Cody Toppert is a former standout player at Cornell University (one of the top three-point shooters in Ivy League history), who played eight years professionally (NBA D-League, Spain, Italy, Germany) and now serves as the Director of Basketball Development at ELEV|8 Sports Institute (Ganon Baker Basketball Academy). He trains professional players (five 2015 NBA Draftees) and coaches prep schoolers for Ganon Baker’s nationally ranked prep school program. Toppert also serves as a contributing writer for FastModel Sports. You can follow Cody and ELEV|8 on social media @Topp33 and @E8hoops.