Take that, President ObamaOU coach Jeff Capel used nine players in the first eight minutes of the game, a day after President Obama said on ESPN that the Sooners went only seven deep and would get worn down. "I’m confident in our bench,” Capel said.
CAPEL NAMED FINALISTCapel has been named one of four finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. Pitt’s Jamie Dixon, LSU’s Trent Johnson and Kansas’ Bill Self joined Capel as finalists.
SOMEONE LIKES OUMost bracketologists aren’t picking the Sooners to reach the Final Four, but OU received at least one endorsement. "I was watching ESPN,” Blake Griffin said. Actor "Samuel L. Jackson picked us in the championship game. That gave us a lot of confidence. Sometimes people are right and sometimes people are wrong.”
JOHNSON INJURED AGAINOU point guard Austin Johnson re-aggravated a shoulder injury in the first half but returned to start the second half and played 27 minutes total. Sooner officials said they expect Johnson to be OK. Johnson finished with seven points and five assists.
LIFE ON THE STREETMorgan State has five players from Baltimore proper and four starters from the Baltimore metro. "They’re tough,” Capel said of Baltimore kids. "They’re different. They’re very, very tough.” The Bears showed it, particularly on the boards. Morgan State grabbed 20 offensive rebounds. "I wasn’t pleased with how many offensive rebounds they got,” Capel said.
FOUL SHOOTINGOU walk-on guard T.J. Franklin twice was fouled in the final 23 seconds. He missed all four free throws, even though by the fourth attempt the Sooner crowd was cheering mightily for a make. OU was 9-of-9 from the line in the first half but just 11-of-23 in the second half.
WORD OF WARNINGMorgan State coach Todd Bozeman, who spent 10 years in exile after NCAA violations at Cal, says he warns young coaches not to make the same mistakes he made. Bozeman was charged with paying players’ families while at Cal. "I say, ‘Listen, whatever you do, keep it on a on the straight and narrow because it’s not worth it for one player,’ ” Bozeman said. "I even tell my own staff, guys, ‘Listen, no player is big enough for us to break the rules for us. We’re going to do it right and keep going forward.’ " Bozeman was out of NCAA coaching for 10 years. "I was determined to get back in, and really, a lot of it was really for my dad,” Bozeman said. "I felt like I embarrassed him and really wanted to get back in while he was living. And that’s my only regret to this day that I wasn’t able to do that. He passed New Year’s Day of 2006. I got back into college basketball March of 2006.” BY BERRY TRAMEL