Oklahoma VS. Indiana

How the teams match up

Final Four

March 30, 2002|By Ken Murray

Point guard

Tom Coverdale or Donald Perry, Indiana: Coverdale aggravated a sprained left ankle in the South Regional final and when he went out, Kent State nearly came back. Perry, a freshman, was shaky against the press and hit just four of 10 free throws. Coverdale will attempt to play tonight, but he probably won't last long. Perry has a tough job against Oklahoma's grinding defense. If he struggles again, Jared Jeffries will bring the ball upcourt.

Quannas White, Oklahoma: A smart, unselfish player, White is averaging 6.3 assists per game for the tournament and 4.8 for the season. He shut down Missouri's Clarence Gilbert in the West Regional final, holding him to 1-for-16 shooting. White should wear down whichever Indiana guard he faces.

Edge: Oklahoma.

Shooting guard

Dane Fife, Indiana: The Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year has 178 career steals to tie Steve Alford for the all-time school record. Fife also has a career-high 8.8 scoring average this season as a senior and has become the Hoosiers' most dependable three-point shooter, averaging 47.7 percent. He also will have to help bring the ball upcourt.

Hollis Price, Oklahoma: An inspirational leader for the Sooners, Price triggers the defense (58 steals) and is the team's leading scorer (16.8 ppg). He's smooth in transition and cool in the clutch (he was voted Most Outstanding Player in the West Regional). His quickness will be a problem for Fife.

Edge: Oklahoma.

Small forward

Kyle Hornsby, Indiana: This junior wing player is another sniper from the outside for the Hoosiers, but his production has been modest this season. His scoring average is up to 8.8 ppg in the tourney from 7.6 in the regular season. He's shooting 44.3 percent from beyond the arc and 42.8 from the field overall.

Ebi Ere, Oklahoma: He is a consistent double-figure scorer, averaging 14.5 points, who can also bang on the boards (5.9 rpg). Not as good a shooter as the guards, Ere has scored 20 or more points eight times. He will play on the perimeter with Hornsby.

Edge: Oklahoma.

Power forward

Jarrad Odle, Indiana: Another senior who elevated his performance this season with 9.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Odle takes high-percentage shots, shooting 55.2 percent from the field. He's taken only eight shots from beyond the arc, and hasn't fouled out of a game this season.

Aaron McGhee, Oklahoma: He has 30 pounds on Odle and has the ability to take Odle outside for a three-point shot. McGhee's game is mostly physical, though. He is averaging 15.8 points and 7.7 rebounds. He has averaged a team-high 21.8 points in the tournament.

Edge: Oklahoma.

Center

Jared Jeffries, Indiana: A big-time player who stepped up his play in the tournament, where he's averaging 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds. He can take the big men outside to the arc, and he's a force inside with 44 blocks. If he has to bring the ball upcourt tonight, it could have an effect on his performance at the offensive end.

Jabahri Brown, Oklahoma: He doesn't match up very well with Jeffries and has virtually disappeared in the tournament, getting just 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Brown is more of a factor on the defensive end, where he has 40 blocks and 37 steals.

Edge: Indiana.

Bench

Indiana: Perry likely will have to play at least 30 minutes at the point filling in for Coverdale. The Hoosiers' best bench player is guard A.J. Moye, who has a great motor and is clutch at the free-throw line (80.5 percent). Indiana can go big with 6-foot-9 Jeff Newton (averaging 9.5 points in the tournament) and 6-11 George Leach.

Oklahoma: Forward Daryan Selvy, a senior captain, gives the Sooners a charge off the bench. He's averaging 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in the tournament. G Jason Detrick contributes on defense with 40 steals.

Edge: Indiana.

Coaches

Mike Davis, Indiana: By his own acknowledgment, Davis has turned a "soft" Indiana team into a tough, physical crew that can hammer opponents on the inside or fire up three-pointers from the outside. He has weathered the initial storm of replacing the legendary Bob Knight, and now he's answering his critics. That the Hoosiers were co-champions in the Big Ten and reached the Final Four says volumes.

Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma: Sampson's teams are renowned for being tough, physical and tenacious. His physical practices are legendary. Now, in his eighth year at Oklahoma, it's paying off in a big way. His suffocating defense will make it hard on Indiana's backcourt.

Edge: Oklahoma.

Pick

It's been a magnificent run for Indiana, but the gig is up. Yes, the Hoosiers upset top-seeded Duke in the South Regional. But they also beat a No. 10 seed (Kent State), a No. 12 seed (Utah) and a No. 13 seed (North Carolina-Wilmington) to get here. Oklahoma should have been a top seed and will prove it tonight. The Sooners should cruise into the championship game.

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