PHILADELPHIA — A look at the key matchups in Friday's 8:20 p.m. NCAA Tournament game between Oklahoma and San Diego State:
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
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
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
OU; Steven Pledger; 6-4; 219; Sr.
SDSU; Jamaal Franklin; 6-5; 205; Sr.
Analysis: After averaging 19 points in the six previous games, Pledger combined for 4-of-18 shooting and 10 points in losses to TCU and Iowa State. Without his 3-point threat, defenses can collapse on Osby. Franklin is a human highlight reel (Google “Jamaal Franklin dunk”) and more. He's the only player in the nation to lead his team in scoring (16.7), rebounding (9.5), assists (3.2) and steals (1.5). Edge: Aztecs
OU; Je'lon Hornbeak; 6-3; 180; Fr.
SDSU; Xavier Thames; 6-3; 190; Jr.
Analysis: These two players are similar in stature. Thames' experience and scoring make him a more dependable contributor, especially since midseason back problems caused him to miss four games. Since a scoreless outing against Wyoming, Thames averages 13.1 points. Hornbeak's 13 points Feb. 23 against Baylor is his only double-digit scoring effort the last seven games. Edge: Aztecs
OU; Buddy Hield and Cameron Clark
SDSU; Skylar Spencer and James Rahon
Analysis: The Sooner bench played an important role in Oklahoma's return to the NCAA Tournament. Forward Andrew Fitzgerald is the other senior who made a strong transition from starter to reserve as a senior. And the silver lining of Hield's injury and recovery is the Sooners gained energy off the bench. Spencer leads San Diego State in blocked shots, averaging almost two a game the last 11. Rahon has just 11 turnovers in 50 collegiate games. Edge: Even
OU; 20-11 overall; 11-7 Big 12; No. 10 seed
SDSU; 22-10 overall; 9-7 Mountain West; No. 7 seed
Analysis: The history between the coaches has been a storyline this week. Lon Kruger is making history at Oklahoma, becoming the first coach in NCAA history to take five teams to the tournament. The Sooners hadn't been there in three years. San Diego State is making its fourth straight appearance but is 2-8 in the NCAAs, both victories coming in the Aztecs' run to the 2011 Sweet Sixteen. Kruger is 8-5 in NCAA first-round games, but 6-14 against Steve Fisher. Edge: Aztecs