The Oklahoma Sooners tip off the NCAA Tournament, today against 15th, seed CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners. Who? Exactly. Chances are you haven’t heard of these guys much less seen one game they’ve played. And if you’re anything like the rest of the world all week you’ve referred to them as Cal State Bakersfield, which unacceptable according to their media notes. When asked what he knew about the Runners OU’s Khadeem Lattin said. “I don’t know a lot about them. No sir.” Lattin didn’t even watch CSUB win the WAC Tournament because it was “rest” night.
You can give Lattin and his teammates a break because they’ve had four days since the announcement to watch the film, look at scouting reports, etc.. You have to work, so with that in mind here is a primer on a team most of us have out of the dance by six o’clock tonight.
CSUB has been playing basketball since 1971, the Runners only Division one postseason appearance came in the 2012 CIT. CSUB and the Sooners have met one other time. In December of 1978 OU waxed the Runners 100-75. Rod Barnes has been at the helm for five years his 16 wins this season is the most by CSUB since they moved to Division 1. Not the most intimidating of credentials, but CSUB only has to be better than Oklahoma for 40 minutes.
The players: Since there is not enough time or space for full bio’s on the entire team, let’s look at few guys who’ll be worth watching.
We’ll start with Aly Ahmed, who hails from Alexandria Egypt.
Ahmed is a 6-9 senior who racked up 1059 points in two years at CSUB; he also has 77 blocks and averages six rebounds per game.
Dedrick Basile is the reason the Runners are playing Oklahoma. He hit the game-winning three in the conference championship game. Basile is the WAC tournament MVP, like Anthony Fogle, Basile is from Houston, and averages 12 points and four assists per game.
Finally, there is Kevin Mays, 6-4 forward who has started all season, and in his first game off the bench, he lit up Seattle for 18 points, five steals, and six rebounds in only 18 minutes. Impressive.
You should know the Runners are 24-8, own a six-game win streak, and in 24 of 32 games they are holding opponents to less than 30 points in the first half.
OU should win today, setting them up to play VCU or Oregon State. Still enjoy the Runners while they hang around because they could make things interesting.