Buddy Hield led the Oklahoma Sooners to the Final Four on Saturday with 37 points on the #1 seed Oregon Ducks. The win sent coach Lon Kruger to his second Final Four and the first since 1994 when he took the Florida Gators.
Hield was 13 of 20 from the field including eight three point bombs. The Sooners were never really challenged in this game between the number one and two seeds. Oregon, perhaps a little bit flat after knocking out the defending National Champion Duke, ran into a buzz saw as the red hot Hield and the Sooners raced out to an 18-point lead in the first half.
This is the fifth Sooners trip to the Final Four and their first since 2002. OU will be trying to advance to their first National Championship Game since 1988 when they take on the Villanova Wildcats who knocked off the Big 12 Champion Kansas Jayhawks, who beat Oklahoma twice during the season.
Villanova held Kansas star Perry Ellis scoreless for the first half, forcing ten turnovers. KU came back in the second half and took a five point lead at one point, but the Wildcats answered with a 10 run and never gave the lead back again. The run was topped off on a dagger three from Josh Hart.
Nova was also eight for eight from the free throw line down the stretch to keep Kansas at arms length. Knocking out the Jayhawks was probably what the Sooners fans wanted to see, although both games with KU were very close.
So one National semifinal is set and today we will get the ACC side of the brackets settled as North Carolina takes on Notre Dame and Virginia battles Syracuse.
North Carolina comes in as a double digit favorite over the Irish. The Heels look to be playing better than anyone in the field right now after breaking the century mark on the Indiana Hoosiers in the Sweet Sixteen. Virginia would seem to be the favorite to knock off the Orange, this year’s Cinderella story.
Syracuse barely got into the field, and many felt they didn’t deserve to be in after losing in their first ACC Tournament game to Pittsburgh. But Cuse has a chance to make it to the Final Four with a win today.