Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma vs. St. Bonaventure NIT Basketball Preview and Prediction

Here is everything you need to know about the St. Bonaventure Bonnies and the Oklahoma Sooners in the National Invitational Tournament men’s second round basketball preview. 

National Invitational Tournament – Second Round 

St. Bonaventure (21-9) at No. 1 Oklahoma (19-15), 7 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU, Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma 

How They Got Here 

The Bonnies knocked off Colorado 76-68 in Boulder to open the first round of the NIT. The Sooners opened their first round with an 89-72 victory over Missouri State in Norman. 

Winner gets: To advance to the quarterfinals and meet the winner of Virginia vs. North Texas. 

Projected Lineups 

St. Bonaventure: G Jalen Adaway, G Kyle Lofton, G Jaren Holmes, F/C Osun Osunniyi, G Dominick Welch 

Oklahoma: G Umoja Gibson, G Jordan Goldwire, F Jacob Groves, F/C Tanner Groves, F Jalen Hill 

 

Players To Watch 

St. Bonaventure G Jalen Adaway: The redshirt senior leads SBU with a 16.1 scoring average. He shot 48.5% from the field, including 39.8% from beyond the arc. Adaway scored 17 points (7 of 13 from the floor; 3 of 5 three-pointers) to lead the Bonnies to victory over the Buffaloes on Tuesday. He was selected to the All-Atlantic first team this season. 

St. Bonaventure F/C Osun Osunniyi: For four straight years, the senior forward/center has been named to the A-10 All-Defensive Team and garnered the league’s top defensive honor for the second consecutive year. Osunniyi leads SBU with 7.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. Over the past four years, he has averaged 8.1 rebounds and blocked 2.8 shots per game. 

Oklahoma G Umoja Gibson: The senior is the Sooners’ scoring leader with 12.9 ppg (42.7% field goals and 38.2% from downtown). Gibson has been on fire the last four games shooting 48.1% from the floor, including 47.2% three-pointers. On Tuesday, he nailed 8 of 17 field goals and 5 of 10 treys against Missouri State. 

Oklahoma F/C Tanner Groves: The senior leads OU with 53.8% shooting and 38.5% from beyond the arc. Groves averages 11.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Groves also improved his shooting down the stretch, hitting 54.8% from the floor and 44.4% treys during the last four games. 

 

Key Storylines 

St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies were favored to repeat this season as A10 champions but finished fourth in the league. They began the season with a 9-1 record, and after a 10-7 mediocre mark in midseason, the Bonnies regained momentum, winning 8 of the next 9 games. They lost to St. Louis by one point in the A10 Tournament’s opening round. All five USB starters average in the double figures in scoring. 

Oklahoma: The Sooners began the season with a solid non-conference record of 12-5 in coach Porter Moser’s first season. OU upset a pair of Top 15 SEC foes but stumbled through the Big 12 Conference. Although losing to No. 1 Auburn by 18 points, the Sooners fought back from a 12-point halftime deficit to close within three points in the first three-and-a-half minutes of the second half. An eighth-place showing in the conference (7-11) and the loss of senior guard Elijah Harkless, one of the team’s top leaders, to a season-ending injury in February was a significant blow to the team. The Sooners, however, redeemed themselves by knocking off third-ranked Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals. 

 

Fun Fact

These teams have met once. The Sooners took down the Bonnies 80-74 in Norman in 2001. Oklahoma’s Aaron McGhee poured in 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to lead the Sooners to victory. McGhee and teammate Ebi Ere combined for 16 of 24 from the field. 

Prediction

Oklahoma 71, St. Bonaventure 65. The Bonnies have met only one Top 25 team (a 10-point loss to Connecticut), while the Sooners are 3-9 against Top 25 foes. The Big 12 is one of the toughest leagues to compete, which gives Oklahoma an edge. Plus, OU is 14-5 at the Lloyd Noble Center, while USB is 5-4 on the road. Osunniyi will present trouble in the paint for the Sooners, who will have to rely on the perimeter game. That’s where Gibson comes in. He must be hot again bombing from downtown like his 5 of 10 treys last Tuesday. Groves also went 50% from beyond the arc (3 of 6) as the team made 12 of 25 three-pointers overall. 

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