NCAA Tournament - The 5-12 Upset Will Be ...
Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: West Region – No. 5 Oklahoma vs. No. 12 North Dakota State

Line: Oklahoma -4.5
Why To Pick North Dakota State: It's a dangerous team hot at the right time, shooting well and doing a great job on the boards. Oklahoma doesn't have enough of an interior presence, and that could be a huge problem against the active Bison that gets to the rim. This is a good OU defensive team, but not an elite one – NDSU can score inside and out.
Why To Pick Oklahoma: NDSU can hit shots inside, but Oklahoma can bomb away from deep with three-point shooters who can turn games around in a hurry. The Sooners don't make a slew of big mistakes, while NDSU doesn't do enough to move the ball around. A good free throw shooting team, it should be able to hold onto a lead late.
The Pick: North Dakota State 83-79. Expect a wild up-and-down game that ends up turning late to the hot Bison. Oklahoma's defense won't be able to come up with a key stop late.

No. 12 West Region - North Dakota State Bison
Head coach: Saul Phillips Record: 25-6 Conference: Summit League

What You Need To Know: It is tough to find a hotter, better shooting team than NDSU. The Bison have won 14 of their last 15 games by shooting better than anyone in America, making 50.9 percent of their shots. The offense moves the ball well, and the defense is solid enough to hold serve. Senior guard Taylor Braun will create matchup problems with his size and quickness, and the 6-7 slasher can take over games with his versatile game. He can work in the post, he can knock down the three and is great at getting to the line. Marshall Bjorklund is a quality scorer inside, and his strength in the post will knock thinner players off their game. TrayVonn Wright is another versatile forward who also is a quality shot blocker. Keep an eye on Lawrence Alexander, a guard who distributes the ball well and will make opponents pay with the deep three-pointer.
Strengths: Shooting, Rebounding, Free Throw Shooting
Weaknesses:Assists, Three Point Shooting, Steals
How Far Will They Go?: The Bison will look fantastic against Oklahoma, and then the hot shooting will stop cold against San Diego State.

Oklahoma Sooners
Head coach: Lon Kruger Record: 23-9 Conference: Big 12

What You Need To Know: The Sooners love to run, and they're willing to go toe-to-toe with any team in the country. Sophomore guard Buddy Hield is a good outside shooter who uses the threat of knocking down a three-pointer to set up drives to the bucket. He's a tough defender who uses his athleticism and quickness to stay in front of opponents. Forward Cameron Clark is the Sooners' best perimeter shooter in terms of percentage, and he is fantastic at getting to the free-throw line. He stretches the floor but also is a presence on the glass. Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard provide balance, and Woodard is a good passer. Ryan Spangler averages nearly a double-double and does his best work scoring on putbacks. Slowing teams down in the halfcourt game is an issue - OU needs to control the tempo to win.
Strengths: Scoring, Three Point Shooting, Free Throws
Weaknesses:Scoring Defense, Blocked Shots, Overall Defense
How Far Will They Go?: Even if they do manage to slip past a dangerous North Dakota State, they're not going to be able to handle San Diego State.