North Dakota State Bison vs. Oklahoma Sooners Pick-Odds-Prediction 3/20/14
North Dakota State Bison (25-6) at Oklahoma Sooners (23-9)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm (Spokane Arena)
The Line: Oklahoma Sooners -4 -- Over/Under: 152.5 See the Latest Odds
The Oklahoma Sooners play the North Dakota State Bison in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night in Spokane, Washington.
Oklahoma finished the regular season with a 23-9 record. Oklahoma had won five of six before falling to Baylor in its Big 12 tournament opener on Thursday. The Sooners have not won an NCAA tournament game since 2009, missing out on the Big Dance in 2010, 2011 and 2012 before losing a second-round meeting with San Diego State last year. The Sooners rank seventh in the nation in points per game (82.2) and have scored at least 70 in 13 of their last 14 contests. The Sooners are talented and balanced, with four players averaging double figures, all of whom shoot at least 75% from the foul line and 35% from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Buddy Hield leads the way at 16.8 points, including a team-high 89 3-pointers, while senior forward Cameron Clark, 15.3 points, has been at his best on the biggest stages this season, scoring a career-high 32 against Michigan State in December and matching that total versus Kansas in January. The X-factor for Oklahoma could be sophomore forward Ryan Spangler, who averages 9.8 points and 9.4 boards but has gone six straight games without a double-double.
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North Dakota State finished the regular season with a 25-6 overall record. This is just the second NCAA tournament appearance for North Dakota State, which fell to Kansas, 84-74, in a hard-fought 3-versus-14 matchup in 2009. North Dakota State's most notable win came in December, when it rode Marshall Bjorklund's 26 points and Lawrence Alexander's 16 points and 14 boards to a 73-69 triumph over ACC member Notre Dame. The Bison own the top shooting percentage in the country (50.9) and have won 14 of their last 15 games.? The Bison were the top seed in the Summit League tournament but barely squeaked past Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne 60-57 in the title game on Taylor Braun's three-point play with 12 seconds left. Braun, a senior guard, is the team's leading scorer at 18.2 points and is shooting 13-of-21 from 3-point range over his last six games. Bjorklund, a 6-8 senior forward who had 12 points against IUPFW, is the nation's sixth-leading shooter at 63.6 percent and averages 13.4 points.
This game should be a high-scoring affair as both teams have the ability to shoot the ball extremely well from all over the court. North Dakota State hasn’t played the toughest schedule but they have an experienced team with plenty of playmakers. I think the Bison play the best defense out of these two teams and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won this game outright. I’ll take the points with North Dakota State.