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NCAA Tournament: Breaking down the Oklahoma-San Diego State matchups

OU vs. SAN DIEGO STATE — The coaching matchup of Lon Kruger vs. Steve Fisher is the dominant pregame storyline. The contest could ride on the performances of OU's Romero Osby and SDSU's Jamaal Franklin.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Published: March 21, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A look at the key matchups in Friday's 8:20 p.m. NCAA Tournament game between Oklahoma and San Diego State:

FORWARD

OU; Romero Osby; 6-8; 232; Sr.

SDSU; JJ O'Brien; 6-7; 225; So.

Analysis: Osby is Oklahoma's workhorse, carrying the Sooners all season. He's averaging 23.2 points in his last five games, but may have needed to do even more as OU lost three of those. O'Brien is a “garbage man” on the boards (7.4 points, 4.6 rebounds). The Utah transfer scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games at midseason but is coming off a scoreless and rebound-less game against New Mexico. Edge: Sooners

FORWARD

OU; Amath M'Baye; 6-9; 208; Jr.

SDSU; DeShawn Stephens; 6-8; 225; Sr.

Analysis: M'Baye has gone cold, shooting a combined 7-of-21 the last three games. That mirrors his performance trend against San Diego State, albeit as a Wyoming freshman before transferring to Oklahoma (see story). Stephens has scored in double figures eight times this season — only once in his last 11 games. Stephens is complementary. M'Baye may be essential to a Sooner win. Edge: Sooners

GUARD

OU; Sam Grooms; 6-1; 203; Sr.

SDSU; Chase Tapley; 6-3; 195; Sr.

Analysis: Grooms was one of two Sooner senior starter deposed by freshman when the season started. His return to the starting lineup, prompted by freshman Buddy Hield's foot injury, coincided with OU's .500 play down the stretch. Tapley (13.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists) was named to the All-Mountain West third team. He's the Aztec's No. 2 shooter and scorer. Grooms is a floor leader who opponents dare to shoot from the outside. Edge: Aztecs

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