When asked on Selection Sunday about his first round opponent, head coach Steve Fisher replied, "I don't know anything about them to be honest with you." The Aztecs history with Oklahoma in basketball is indeed ancient. This will be the fourth meeting ever between the two teams. The Sooners have won all three previous games. Their last was back in 1975, an overtime win by Oklahoma when Tim Vezie was State's head coach.
Despite not playing each other for 38-plus years, the teams had a very similar season. The Aztecs finished 22-10 overall / 9-7 in conference. Oklahoma was 20-11 / 11-7 in the Big-12. Both squads sputtered down the stretch, going 6-6 in their final dozen games.
While it may be true Fisher knows little about the current Oklahoma squad, he is very familiar with their head coach. Lon Kruger coached UNLV for seven years. The two have faced-off multiple times. Fisher has a huge edge, winning 13 of the 18 games against the Kruger coached Rebels.
Apparently Fisher and Kruger have remained friends, despite their "long-distance" relationship. In fact, the two are texting buddies. "Lon and I have texted back and forth. He texted me when we had a good non-conference win against UCLA. I did the same," said Fisher.
Since Selection Sunday Fisher has had taken a closer look at Kruger's team. On Tuesday he admitted, "Lon Krueger's team is good. The more I watch the better they become. So we're anxious to go prove that we belong and if we play well we'll have a great chance to win."
They'll get that chance on Friday in Philadelphia.