Rhode Island vs Oklahoma: Rams Aim to Slow Down Trae Young

It’ll be the Rhode Island vs Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament first round on Thursday afternoon. Here’s what the Rams will be dealing with in Pittsburgh.

Bring on Trae Young. The 7 seed Rhode Island Rams will meet the 10 seed Oklahoma Sooners in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Thursday. It’ll be the first meeting in the history of both schools. And the game will be relatively close to the Ocean State. The squads will do battle at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, the same site of the 2017 Atlantic 10 Championship. This is a slightly bigger stage… the Midwest Regional. The Dance.

Here’s more on the Sooners.

Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Conference: Big 12
Head Coach: Lon Kruger (seventh year)
2016-17 Record: 18-13 (8-10)
Official Team Twitter: @OU_MBBall

And here’s a little more on both their NCAA resume and history.

Seed: 10 in the Midwest Region
Bid Via: At-large
NCAA Tournament Record: 41-30 (31 total appearances)
Last Tourney Appearance: 2016 (2 seed. Defeated 15 seed Cal-State Bakersfield in the first round, 10 seed VCU in the second round, 3 seed Texas A&M in the Sweet Sixteen, and 1 seed Oregon in the Elite Eight. They lost to 2 seed Vilanova in the Final Four.)
Deepest NCAA Run: National Championship Game (runners up, 1947 and 1988)
RPI: 49
KenPom: 48

Obviously, the story with OU is 6’2″ point guard Trae Young. And with good reason. The freshman averaged 27.4 points and 8.8 assists per game this season, both tops in the nation. But Young wasn’t without his struggles. He also averaged 5.2 turnovers per game, and he’s been hit and miss with his three point shot. But even with the negatives, Young has the clear ability to take over games and beat teams almost single-handedly. The Sooners have two other players averaging in double-figures as well: junior guard Christian James (12.1) and freshman forward Brady Manek (10.4).

The storyline is clear: contain Young and win the game. That’s easier said than done. But if anyone can do it, it’s URI’s guards. Don’t bet against them.