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Oklahoma City Sweet 16 preview: Oklahoma, Tennessee might be the game of the day

Obviously most of the talk today will be about Baylor Lady Bears center Brittney Griner. But the Oklahoma Sooners and Tennessee Lady Vols matchup might be the better game between a pair of teams that have overcome quite a bit to get to this point.


As described at Rocky Top Talk this morning, depth could be a major issue in today's game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Tennessee Lady Vols: the Lady Vols might actually have more depth than the Sooners, something that hasn't happened often this season.

So the game might come down to foul trouble and execution with Oklahoma playing in their home state.

The projections:

Team Massey Sagarin predictor
#2 Tennessee 71% 93.67
#6 Oklahoma 29% 87.40

Sagarin predictor
#1 Baylor
98% 108.41
#5 Louisville
2% 91.15

Tennessee vs. Oklahoma

David Hooper covered most of this in his preview, it's worth giving some additional attention to the role of Aaryn Ellynberg in this game.

The Sooners tend to turn the ball over more than their opponents, which was one of the reasons that it made sense that people expected UCLA to be in this position. But it's noteworthy that they only had 7 for the entire game against UCLA and repeating that kind of performance could be huge for them against Tennessee just in terms of not giving up easy points in transition. Ellynberg will obviously be some part of how well the Sooners control the ball.

But the key thing is what Oklahoma does if they find that the threes aren't falling and Ellynberg's speed and ability to create for others will come into play if that happens: if they can get something going to the basket to score either at the free throw line or by penetration, they'll be able to overcome poor shooting.

Ultimately, when the Lady Vols are clicking and healthy, they're hard to stop. Oklahoma has a very good chance to challenge, but winning is another story.

Baylor vs. Louisville

To beat Baylor, Louisville would have to absolutely catch fire from the 3-point line and somehow force turnovers to get points in transition. It also wouldn't hurt for Brittney Griner to get in foul trouble at which point the lanes would open up for driving a bit.

For starters, Louisville is a 31% 3-point shooting team so even them sustaining hot 3-point shooting would be a bit surprising. Doing that and feasting on Baylor turnovers, more surprising. Griner being forced to sit while all that is happening? And maybe you have the makings of an upset...? Maybe - there's still all the other All-Americans.

In short, there's a reason the Massey ratings have Baylor as a 98% favorite.

For more on this region, visit our Oklahoma City region storystream.