CSUB men’s basketball prepares for No. 2 Oklahoma


CSUB men’s basketball celebrates winning the WAC Tournament championship on Saturday. Photo by AJ Alvarado/The Runner

By Esteban Ramirez



It’s time for the CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team to take its turn on the dance floor.

CSUB earned the number 15 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament and will play second-seeded Oklahoma University on Friday in Oklahoma City.

CSUB head coach Rod Barnes said that anytime a team plays against a number two seed, it’s going to be atough matchup.

“You get a chance to get in this tournament, especially when you play against a great program, great team it’s going to be tough regardless.”

The game will be televised on TNT at 1 p.m.

“As far as what they do and what we do, I think it’s a good matchup for us,” said Barnes.  “They are not overly big. They got (6-foot-8-inch and 6-foot-9-inch) kids, which is what we play against.”

Barnes added that Oklahoma is guard-oriented and

“We feel like our guards defend well, so we’ll see what happens,” said Barnes.

CSUB finished the season 24-8 and 11-3 in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Roadrunners then beat No. 7 Chicago State 79-57 in the first round of the WAC Tournament.

CSUB went on to beat No. 3 Seattle University 72-47 in the semifinals. That set the stage for CSUB’s WAC title win over New Mexico State University, 57-54.

CSUB is led by senior center Aly Ahmed who is averaging 12.9 points per game and 6.2 rebounds. Senior forward Kevin Mays averages 12.5 points per game and a team-high 8 rebounds. Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP and junior guard Dedrick Basile averages 12 points per game and a team-high 1.8 steals per game.

“It’s going to be an exciting game,” said Basile. “We got no pressure on us at all. We are just going to try and upset them.”

The Oklahoma Sooners finished the season 25-7 and 12-6 in the Big 12.

The Sooners are led by senior guard Buddy Hield, who is averaging 25 points per game, which is the second most in the nation. Senior guard Isaiah Cousins averages 13 points per game and senior forward Ryan Spangler averages 10.8 points and a team-high 9.4 rebounds.

Mays said he likes the matchup.

“We’ve been underdogs our whole lives, so we are just looking forward to it,” said Mays. “It’s kind of like home-court advantage for them. We won big games on the road too, so we are looking forward to getting this ‘W.’”