COLUMBUS, Ohio — Which side has the advantage on the matter may be up for debate, but clear is a very real difference between the two teams.
Central Michigan is deep.
The Chippewas average more than 74 points per game with nobody averaging more than 16 but with nine players averaging double-digit minutes and eight of those players averaging at least 5.4 points.
OU only suits up nine players and one of them is Eden Williams, who came over from the volleyball team, and who has seen action in six games but not scored a point.
The Sooners have seven players getting at least 10 minutes per game, but only five averaging more than three points. That would be the starting five, all of which have averaged double-figure scoring during the 18-game conference season.
Are the Chippewas better prepared because their bench is longer? Or are they in a terrible position because coach Sue Guevara could never get away with playing so many players against the better competition of OU and other Big 12 programs.
Different pedigrees: The Sooners are playing in their 14th straight NCAA tournament, a span over which they have reached three Final Fours and eight Sweet 16s.
Meanwhile, the Chippewas aren’t merely waiting for their first NCAA tournament victory, but their first postseason victory of any kind. All-time, Central Michigan is O-2 in the Big Dance and 0-2 at the WNIT.
Guevara believes it’s only about today.
“Our kids are prepared for this,” she said.
Up and down: Before the Sooners left for Columbus, they talked about reinvigorating their transition game for the NCAA tournament. It is an annual reconnaissance project to find that part of the Sooner game this time of year. It’s typically required because by the end of the Big 12 Conference gauntlet, nobody’s usually doing much running.
“They have a little size and they also like to get up and down,” Chippewa guard Crystal Brown said. “They feed off their point guard … We like to transition and they do, too. We want to slow them down.”
“It’s going to be a track meet,” said Brandie Baker, the Chippewa point guard.