Oklahoma State, a No. 10 seed, will play No. 7 seeded Michigan at 11:15 a.m. March 17 in Indianapolis in the NCAA Tournament.
The City of Tulsa will host four regional games Friday at the downtown arena with a field that includes Kansas and Baylor from the Big 12 and SMU, champion of the American Athletic Conference.
Michigan (24-11, 11-8 Big Ten) entered the Big Ten Conference Tournament as the No. 8 seed, but emerged as the champion. The Wolverines took down No. 24 Wisconsin, 71-56, in the Big Ten title game on Sunday.
This will be the fourth overall meeting between Oklahoma State and Michigan, and the first since the second round of the 1997 NIT. The Wolverines own a slight 2-1 edge in the series. The two programs also met in the 1992 Sweet 16 in Lexington, Ky., and in a non-conference tournament in Toledo, Ohio in 1982.
After starting the Big 12 with six straight losses, Oklahoma State finished with nine wins in league 12 games under first-year coach Brad Underwood, formerly at Stephen F. Austin. This is the fourth time in four years that Underwood has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament.
OSU point guard Jawun Evans is one of the best point guards and scorers in the nation. The Cowboys led by Evans’ 19.0 points per game. Jeffrey Carroll (17.4 ppg) and Phil Forte III (13.3 ppg) also are averaging in double figures in scoring, with Forte shooting 95.3 percent from the free throw line.
Head coach Brad Underwood has led Oklahoma State back to the NCAA Tournament.
“I wasn’t overly concerned about where we were seeded,” Underwood said. “There are a lot of things that play into the seeding process. When you’re a 7, 8, 9, 10, you’re going to play someone that’s very good. We’re going to have to play well to win.”
With two NCAA titles, six Final Four appearances, 11 Elite Eights and 11 Sweet 16s to its credit, Oklahoma State has 27 trips to the NCAA tournament. Only UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Connecticut, Duke, Kansas and Louisville have more NCAA championships than Oklahoma State, who won it all in 1945 and 1946. The Cowboys earned a spot in the Final Four in 1945, 1946, 1949, 1951, 1995 and 2004.
Oklahoma State is 12-5 all-time in the round of 64 and is 6-6 in the round of 32.
Michigan received its first automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big Ten Tournament under coach John Beilein. Michigan has been to the NCAA Tournament 27 times and has an overall record of 45-21. Beilein has taken the Wolverines to the NCAAs seven times in the past 10 years.
Seven Big Ten schools made the tournament while six Big 12 teams got invitations.
Kansas coach Bill Self was surprised at the tough matchups in the Midwest Regional.
“It’s the same reaction I have every year, like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” said Self of a region that includes No. 2 Louisville, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Purdue and No. 5 Iowa State, among others. “That’s what I initially thought. Obviously, I think it’s very difficult, but everybody in the tournament could say the same thing.”
Self, who once coached The University of Tulsa and at ORU, had no complaints about playing in Tulsa.
“We’re happy that we were a 1 seed (and) we’re obviously happy that we get to stay fairly regional with our travel,” Self said.
Tulsa Regional Capsules
North Carolina Central vs. University of California – Davis (March 14)
The North Carolina Central Eagles opponents hit only 29 percent of their three-point shots and only 63 percent of their free throw attempts. They compete in the MEAC.
This is the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for the UC Davis Aggies. Their top player is Chima Moneke from Canberra, Australia. He got almost 30 percent of available defensive rebounds this year.
Providence vs. USC (March 14)
This is the second straight year for USC coach Andy Enfield to take his team to the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans have their best record since 1992.
Providence coach Ed Cooley’s team started Big East play at 4-8 but recovered by ending the season with a 6-0 run.
Kansas won its 13th straight Big 12 Championship this season – a streak matched only by UCLA in the 1960s/70s-era. The Jayhawks were upset in the conference tournament. The last two KU teams that won the regular season title and lost in the tournament won the national championship. The Jayhawks are making their NCAA-record 28th consecutive appearance in the Big Dance.
Baylor vs. New Mexico State
New Mexico State got a bid by winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. They had a 20-game winning streak in the middle of this season under first-year head coach Paul Weir and won a school record 28 games.
Baylor, unranked when the season began, had one of the best defenses in the Big 12. The Bears tied West Virginia and Iowa State for second place in the conference behind perennial champion Kansas. Baylor has lost four of their last seven games. BU has appeared in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the first time in program history. The Bears had never been to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments prior to this four-year streak.
First-year coach Tim Janovich, who replaced legendary coach Larry Brown, has former Duke recruit Semi Ojeleye, who shot 43 percent from the three-point line. SMU was the top team in the American Athletic Conference with a 17-1 league mark (including two wins over Tulsa). SMU, which has won 16 straight games and 26 of 27, is arguably the hottest team in the country.
Miami vs. Michigan State
Miami coach Jim Larranaga has taken his team to the Sweet 16 twice. They posted a 10-8 record in the tough ACC.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has a young but talented team that has too many turnovers and is not good with offensive rebounds.
Tulsa Regional Schedule
No. 3 Baylor (25-7) vs. No. 14 New Mexico State (28-5) 11:40 p.m. on truTV
No. 6 SMU (30-4) vs. Providence/USC winner
(after the Baylor/UNMS game) on truTV
No. 1 Kansas (28-4) vs. NC Central/UC Davis winner – 5:50 p.m. on TNT
No. 8 Miami (21-11) vs. No. 9 Michigan State (19-14) (after the KU/NCC/UCD game) on TNT
SMU/Prov./USC winner vs. Baylor/NMSU winner
KU/NCC/UCD winner vs. Miami/Michigan St. winner
No. 10 OSU vs. No. 7 Michigan
at 11:15 a.m. March 17 at Indianapolis on KOTV-1006