The Norman Transcript

March 18, 2013

OU already breaking down first round matchup with San Diego State

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma director of basketball operations Mike Shepard immediately began tracking down game film of San Diego State early Sunday night.

Getting in touch with coaches familiar with the Aztecs shouldn’t have been a problem. Sooner coach Lon Kruger spent seven season at UNLV prior to coming to OU. All of those seasons were spent competing with the Aztecs in the Mountain West Conference.

“San Diego State is a tough team. Steve Fisher does a great job. We battled him a lot of years at UNLV,” Kruger said. “He’s got a very talented, athletic basketball team.”

The Sooners haven’t played San Diego State since 1975 (OU won 79-74 in overtime).

Kruger doesn’t believe his personal history with the Aztecs will have much to do with Friday’s NCAA tournament contest.

“I didn’t see them play that much this year. I know they’re very talented, very athletic,” Kurger said. “As far as knowing exactly about this team, we’ll learn more the next couple days watching film.”

Long trip home: OU returned from Kansas City, Mo., Thursday night after its loss to Iowa State at the Big 12 tournament. Some players went home on the team bus. Others came home with their families.

Romero Osby came home with his family. He said it wasn’t a pleasant ride.

“I was tired and pissed off from losing and then I had to drive and my daughter was driving me crazy. It was a tough ride back,” he said. “I kept thinking if we would have made this play or would have made that play, we would have won that game.

“It was tough. I’m happy we still made it into the tournament.”

Osby’s daughter is 3 years old but seemed to take OU losing personally.

“I think she was mad because Iowa State beat us and her dad didn’t do anything in the second half,” Osby said. “I think she was frustrated at my play in the second half.

“I think that was why she was pissed off. It was a situation where everyone was in a bad mood from losing and then you have a long drive back after a loss.”

Close to home: Going to Philadelphia will allow seniors Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald to play close to home. Pledger is from Chesapeake, Va., while Fitzgerald is from Baltimore.

Both are familiar with the city.

“Oh, yeah it’s going to be a lot of family members,” Fitzgerald said. “My father, he lives in New York, so he’s definitely going to come down for that game. I know my mother’s going to be there. There’s going to be a lot of family and friends there.”

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Pledger.

“My parents, they don’t really get to come out and see me play that much, but this is going to be great. Both my parents grew up in Philadelphia, so I have a lot of family there,” he said.

Happy with the seed? Receiving a No. 10 seed was where many had OU projected going into the tournament. Kruger has no complaints.

“No one puts more time into it than the selection committee. They have to consider a lot of different things the fans don’t realize or understand, in terms of people from different conferences and different home sites and things that go into that,” he said. “Yeah, we feel like this group is deserving of what we’ve got. The opportunity to play, that’s the most important thing. Just to be in the field and having an opportunity to play.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

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