Three Keys to Beating Morgan State

Everyone knows the No. 2 seeded Sooners in the South are a heavy favorite to beat the No. 15 seeded Morgan State Bears, but it seems like there are always a couple of huge upsets in the first round, regardless of which teams are favored.

A few years back it was No. 15 seed Hampton who knocked off No. 2 seed Iowa State.

In the 2006 season, No. 6 OU was upset by No. 11 Wisconsin–Milwaukee in the first round.

So, the unexpected does happen in the most unlikely scenario.

Here are three ways the Sooners can prevent that from happening tonight.

3. Avoid the early MSU run– The Bears will come out fired up and ready to make a run to start the game. It is their first ever NCAA tournament game against the team that boasts the best player in college basketball in OU and sophomore forward Blake Griffin. Getting behind an underdog early just feeds their confidence and contributes to their momentum throughout the remainder of the game. The Sooners would be well off to avoid any type of scenario of digging an early deficit against the Bears because trailing in the second half always puts more pressure on the favorite.

2. Take care of the ball– The Sooners were dreadful taking care of the ball in their short stay in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. OU turned it over 19 times against Oklahoma State in the contest compared to only 10 Cowboy turnovers. Therefore, the Sooners had a terrible assist to turnover ratio, tossing only eight assists to their 19 turnovers in the game, while OSU had a positive assist-turnover ratio, as the Cowboys distributed 12 assists to 10 turnovers. A good way to fall behind in a game on the big stage as a heavy favorite is to not value the basketball. In the quarterfinals against OSU, the Sooners did not value the basketball. Repeating that trait against the Bears in the opening round of the NCAAs would be disastrous.

1. Feed the ‘Terminator'– Texas Tech head coach Pat Knight called Griffin the terminator for a reason. If Griffin is rolling, so are the Sooners. If he's not, everyone else must step up, or OU can be beaten. He is averaging nearly 22 points per game and more than 14 rebounds per game, and no one figures to be a factor inside against Griffin in tonight's contest. If Griffin throws up those type of numbers, there's a 99 percent chance an upset will not happen at the hands of the Bears.

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