Sooners Ready For NCAA Tournament

Wednesday, March 18th 2009, 7:23 pm
By: News On 6

By Kyle Dierking,

KANSAS CITY -- It's no secret that Oklahoma's success has come from Blake Griffin this season.

"He has to have his fingerprint on everything we do," said OU coach Jeff Capel. "Not just on offense but defense, too."

OU started the season winning 25 of 26 games. Much has been made about the Sooners stumble to the finish line, losing four of its last six.

One Big 12 coach told Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis that OU was "overrated" when Davis asked them what was wrong with Oklahoma.

"Might have been somebody that beat us," Capel laughed. "That's the guy's opinion."

Griffin, the consensus national player of the year, was held to nine shot attempts in its Big 12 Tournament loss to Oklahoma State. He still scored 17 points and had 19 rebounds, but the Cowboys double team on Griffin limited his shot attempts.

"We have to figure out different ways to get (Griffin) the ball," Capel said. "He has to get the ball a lot - its different ways to get the ball - he can get it from an offensive rebound and running the floor."

The focus on Griffin often left Sooner guards with open looks, but they shot just 13-for-31 from the field against OSU.

"It's going to be important for some of our guys to step up and make shots," Capel said.

OU was a popular pick to go to the Final Four earlier this season. They still drew a number two seed and plays close to home in Kansas City.

The Sooners play Morgan State on Thursday evening and a win would mean a second-round match-up with either Clemson or Michigan.

"We're not worried about what other people think," Griffin said. "Right now we need to concentrate on ourselves. We control our own destiny."

Despite the doubters, the Sooners still have at least one supporter saying they will in the National Championship.

"Watching Sports Center today, I saw Samuel L. Jackson picked us in the championship game," Griffin said sarcastically. "That gave us a lot of confidence."