NCAA Tourney: Paris, Sooners headed to Austin

Oklahoma will face Southeast Missouri State in the first round Saturday in Austin.

Oklahoma's road to the Final Four will begin at 11 a.m. (CST) Saturday in the West Region in Austin, Texas.

The third-seeded Sooners will play 14th-seeded Southeast Missouri State (24-7) in the first round, but the big story is who Oklahoma will have to beat to get to the Final Four.

OU will play the Marquette (25-6)-UL Lafayette (25-8) winner in the second round and then face a potential matchup with defending national champion Maryland (27-5) in the Sweet 16, then either top-seeded Tennessee (28-3) or 4th-seeded Ohio State (28-3) in the Elite Eight.

"We are ready for it," said Coale on the Sooners' tough draw. "You have to beat all the good teams if you want to win a National Championship anyway. We are excited to be playing our first round game in Austin and we are ready to get after it."

"You take a look at the bracket and what's handed to you and keep everything in chronological order. We could go ‘Oh my gosh, we've got to Maryland, Tennessee and Ohio State' but no you don't, some of those guys have to play each other so somebody's got to lose. Right now all we have to play is Southeast Missouri State and if we don't take care of that, none of the rest of it is going to matter."

As for Southeast Missouri State, the Redhawks boast the nation's leading rebounder in Lachelle Lyles (17.2) and earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs by winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament with a 62-60 win over Murray State. They also won the regular season conference title with an 18-4 mark.

"I know nothing about them other than Chris Freet, our women's SID, just told me that they have the leading rebounder in the country and I have been wondering all year," said Sooner center Courtney Paris. "They keep saying you are the second-leading rebounder and I have been wondering who is the girl that is leading in rebounds. It will be nice to meet her. I have always wondered who it was. You always want to be number one. It will be fun to battle with her."

NCAA Bracket
SE Missouri State Schedule/Results
ESPN on the Redhawks

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