COLUMBUS, Ohio — On selection Monday, as the Sooners watched from coach Sherri Coale’s east Norman den, a second roar followed the first, moments after Oklahoma’s name was finally called. It came when UCLA’s name was called.
The moment the Sooners learned it would probably be the Bruins waiting in the second round of the NCAA tournament, they were pleased.
Ever since Nov. 14, when UCLA beat OU 86-80 at Lloyd Noble Center, there’s been a sense of unfinished business with the Bruins.
Still, that doesn’t make it a great matchup when the two teams tip off at 6:15 tonight at St. John Arena.
“They had 28 offensive rebounds against us. They outplayed us in the physical aspects of the game,” OU point guard Morgan Hook said. “Its going to be cool to go out there and give them another shot.”
Hook was off by four on UCLA’s rebounding number. The Bruins had 24 offensive boards. But if that number doesn’t change and the Sooners can’t stand up to the Bruins’ physicality, Hook will probably be wrong about how cool it is to play a rematch, too.
UCLA coach Cori Close explained the way her team looks at things. It sounded like a manifesto on tough basketball.
“There’s an area about eight feet around the basket that’s called the war zone and there’s a reason we call it the war zone,” she said. “It’s a battle every night to control that area around the paint … We talk about containing dribble penetration, about being early out of the war zone, blocking cuts early out of the war zone. If players get touches there, there’s usually a foul or a basket scored.”
OU feels like it’s in a much better position to handle the physical onslaught UCLA’s sure to bring.