By now we all know and agree that the Texas Longhorns got hosed by the NCAA selection committee. What is a two or three seed team was resigned to the four line. What we also know is that besides getting the shaft in seeding, that because of their seeding they are facing a team in the Oakland, Mich. Golden Grizzlies that won't back down and has the capability of pulling off the upset.
And it's not like the Horns can stroll into Tulsa, flex their muscles and Oakland will drop to their knees. This Grizzly team had one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the nation, as they faced seven eventual NCAA tournament teams, and despite going 1-6 in those games (defeating Tennessee) Oakland proved that they don't and won't back down to any competition.
The game will also give Texas freshman Tristan Thompson a good feeling for his NBA worth. Thompson will most likely have to bang against Oakland big man, 6'11 Keith Benson, a projected second round NBA pick this season. This will give the Big 12 Freshman of the Year a good idea about what it might be like next season, should he opt to enter the NBA draft after this season.
On the season Benson averages 18 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, but he was relatively shut down when he played against the other NCAA tournament teams he faced, scoring just eight points against Ohio State and 11 against both Michigan and Illinois. In the Grizzlies' upset win, he poured in a game high 26 points and grabbed 10 boards.
But the Grizzlies aren't just a one headed monster, diminutive junior guard Reggie Hamilton averages 17.4 ppg, while 6'9 forward Will Hudsonn and 6'4 guard Travis Bader each contribute double digits. As a team Oakland averages 85.6 ppg, which is good for second nationally.
Texas is the better team. That is not up for debate, but in order for them to win they need to see Jordan Hamilton, Gary Johnson and Cory Joseph get into the game. If those guys can get their points, Oakland's threat should be minimized.
If Benson rules the roost, then the NCAA committee might be justified in giving the Horns a 4-seed.
The game tips at 11:15 CT in Tulsa and can be seen on CBS.