Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Utah State at Oral Roberts
The Mid-Con’s current leader and overwhelming favorite to win the conference is looking for a program-defining win against a consistent NCAA Tournament team.USU is hoping for two consecutive at-large bids this year, but are significantly hindered by a cupcake non-conference schedule (we don’t blame them; the Committee sent the wrong message last year). USU’s RPI number is in the high 60s, and its resume is devoid of any marquee W (at home against New Mexico State is the best one to date).
Trivia question: which coach named Sutton has a win in Allen Fieldhouse this year? No, it’s not Sean, whose Oklahoma State Cowboys were waxed by 30 in their visit to Kansas. It’s Scott, Sean’s brother. Scott Sutton led ORU to what has to be considered the most shocking victory of the year in the non-conference season. A win over a quality Utah State team added to the Kansas victory would put the Golden Eagles in line for a 13-seed and would set up a realistic chance for a first-round NCAA Tournament upset.
Key Matchup: USU’s Jaycee Carroll vs. ORU’s Caleb Green
They won’t be guarding each other, but it should be fun watching these two, both of whom can flat out score. Carroll is a 6-foot-2 guard that can bury you on the perimeter (45 3PT%) and makes you pay at the charity stripe (91 FT%). Green is a double-double waiting to happen. The 6-foot-8 forward is one of the best athletes in the country. He almost always starts and often finishes the Golden Eagles’ fast break. Sit back and watch these two fill it up.
Prediction: Oral Roberts 87, Utah State 82
This is probably ORU’s most important home game in several years, and the Golden Eagles simply have more to play for.