Buddy Hield

The senior season of Buddy Hield with the Oklahoma Sooners is turning out to be quite a special one. He scored 37 points in the 80-68 win over Oregon that takes him and Oklahoma into the Final Four for the first time in over a decade, with an offense no one wants to face. The even better news? They don’t have to play Kansas thanks to Villanova upsetting the Jayhawks.

Hield has had good seasons before. He was the Big 12 player of the year last season, averaging 17.4 points per game, and then making the Elite Eight with Oklahoma, averaging 17 points per game along the way. But this season he’s possibly the best player in the nation, averaging 25.4 points per game (second best in the nation) and turning his senior season into an offensive extravaganza, which will help him move up the mock drafts thanks to him shooting 46.5% from beyond the arc this season.

In the tournament he’s been at his best, scoring 17 in his worst performance. Overall, in four games, he’s averaging 29.3 points with two performances of 36 and 37. He knocked down eight three pointers in the win over Oregon and is now only four points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer in conference history. Oklahoma are the first team since Georgia Tech in 1990 to have someone scoring 25 points or more per game and make the Final Four. Hield is also the first player since Dennis Scott (who played for that GT team) to score 37 points or more without a single assist in an Elite Eight game.

Where does this end for Oklahoma? The last time they had someone score so many points in the tournament (Stacey King in 1988), they made it all the way to the final before losing to Kansas. There’s no Kansas this time and while Oklahoma aren’t the perfect team, coming in with weaknesses to the two-game finale, Hield shines in big moments and carries the team with him. It’s been a very long time since one player stood out like this and actually carried his team to a championship (Carmelo Anthony in 2003 maybe?). Hield and Oklahoma have what it takes to make it happen.

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