Michigan will face Oklahoma State of the Big 12 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Indianapolis.
The Wolverines (24-11) are the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region after winning their first official Big Ten Tournament title, 71-56, against Wisconsin on Sunday in Washington, D.C.
This will be the fourth all-time meeting between Michigan and Oklahoma State, and the second in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan won a 1992 Sweet 16 matchup, 75-72, in Lexington, Ky., on its way to finishing as national runner-up with the Fab Five. This is the 28th time Oklahoma State has made the NCAA Tournament field, the last time coming two years ago.
Oklahoma State (20-12) has lost three games in a row, including a 92-83 setback in the Big 12 quarterfinals to eventual tournament champion Iowa State.
Here’s a quick look at the Cowboys:
Head coach: Brad Underwood (1st season at Oklahoma State, 109-26 overall in four seasons)
Conference: Big 12
Record: 20-12 overall, 9-9 conference (fifth place)
NCAA seed: No. 10
NCAA appearances: 27 (38-26)
National championships: 2 (1945, 1946)
Last 10 games: 6-4
Offense: 85.5 ppg
Defense: 78.0 ppg
Leading scorer: PG Jawun Evans, 19.0 ppg
Leading rebounder: F Jeffrey Carroll, 6.6
Underwood is in his first season after three seasons at Stephen F. Austin that ended in NCAA Tournament appearances. He has Oklahoma State back in the tournament after a one-year absence, and he’s got them there with a high-octane style that led the Big 12 in scoring and should make for an interesting matchup against Michigan. The Wolverines like to get out and run as well, so expect a lot of points to be scored in this game.
Sophomore point guard Jawun Evans was second in the Big 12 in scoring (19.0) and led the conference with 6.2 assists per game. Junior guard Jeffrey Carroll was third in the conference in scoring (17.4) and fourth in field goal percentage (53.2). The Cowboys have made 40.1 percent of their 3-point attempts this season, with Carroll (43.4 percent) and fifth-year senior guard Phil Forte III (42.0) leading the way.
“We’ve got a very good point guard and it all starts there, with Jawun,” Underwood said. “He’s been arguably as good as anybody in the country the last half of the season, and not just doing it with scoring. He’s had 15 assists in a game (against Kansas).”
The Cowboys are deep; they have nine players in their rotation who average at least 12.7 minutes per game.
Oklahoma State had won 10 of 11 games before its recent three-game losing streak, including beating NCAA Tournament teams Arkansas, West Virginia (road) and Kansas State (road). That followed a six-game losing streak that temporarily put Oklahoma State’s NCAA hopes in serious jeopardy.
Oklahoma State starters
|Jawun Evans||Soph.||PG||19.0||3.3||2.2 assist-turnover ratio|
|Phil Forte III||SR-5||G||13.3||2.6||84 3-pointers made this season.|
|Jeffrey Carroll||JR||G||17.4||6.6||Scored 20-plus points 15 times|
|Leyton Hammonds||SR||F||8.0||4.8||Played 119 career games|
|Mitchell Solomon||JR||F||5.4||5.2||Avg 3.0 offensive rebounds per game|