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Galen Robinson Jr: "We trust in our coaches to get us a good game plan. We're going to buy into it."
The Saxenian Family
POSTED: March 23, 2019 -- 5:15 p.m. CDT
TULSA, OK (BOK CENTER) -- The No. 3 seed Houston Cougars (32-3) will face the No. 11 seed Ohio State Buckeyes (20-14) Sunday, at approximately 7:40 p.m. (Central Time), in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be shown on TNT.
Sunday's match-up will begin slightly 49 hours after Friday's first round games. Houston's senior guards, Galen Robinson Jr and Corey Davis Jr., said facing a new opponent on a quick turnaround will be challenging. However, the players believe the coaching staff will have the team well prepared.
"Definitely poses a big challenge because there's a level of unfamiliarity with them," Robinson said. "In conference play, you play everybody twice. Lot of guys you played over the years, you have a good feel for them. This is a Big Ten team, never played them before. We played one Big Ten team (Michigan) last year. For the most part, it's a really unfamiliar kind of feel to it. We just have -- we trust in our coaches to get us a good game plan. We're going to buy into it."
"This time around it takes a level of focus," Davis added. "We have to have another level of focus rather than like a regular season game. The teams we normally play or somebody in our conference. We have to be very detail oriented and just trust our coaches because they do a great job with all our scouts. We have to pay attention and just stick to all the details they give us."
The Saxenian Family
Houston Head Coach Kelvin Sampson looks at the quick turnaround differently than his players.
"We're all in it (the same situation)," Sampson commented. "Whoever is playing today or tomorrow, doing the same thing, you know? I was watching a game before I left the room, who was it, LSU and Maryland. Just do the best you can. I don't over-analyze it or sweat, worry about it. We watched them play last night and didn't know who we were going to play until later, after 11:00, I think. I just watched them on my laptop. I just watched a couple of their games. We played Michigan last year in the second round. So, we're familiar with a lot of their players. I watched them play Michigan to see how Michigan defended some of their actions.
"Whoever you play the second round is always going to be a good team," Sampson added. "And, Ohio State is a good team."
Ohio State is led by big man Kaleb Wesson. On the season, Kaleb (6'9", 270) averages 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. However, in the first round game against Iowa State, Kaleb produced a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes.
Coach Sampson says Kaleb's high basketball IQ accentuates his physical abilities.
"He's big and strong and physical," Sampson said. "The fact that he's big and strong and physical is not what makes him really good. It's his basketball IQ. He's got great hands. He understands how to play. They (the Buckeyes) do a good job of playing through him. They put you in positions where you have to play him one-on-one sometime. The kid that we've played similar to him was last year the kid for Wichita State, Shaq Morris. Very similar. Shaq wasn't as skilled as this kid, didn't have -- he couldn't step out and make a 3, for instance. Wasn't going to lead the team in assists from the 5 spot. But, he could score the ball just as good. We haven't seen a kid that -- his size that can post you, pass it, shoot it, score it like him.
"I'm not sure a lot of leagues have that," continued Sampson. "I don't think it has anything to do with the conference they're in. It's unique to the kid. He's a really good player."
The Saxenian Family
Ohio State averages 69.4 points per game and allows 66.0 ppg. Houston averages 75.6 points per game and allows 61.1 points per game. Houston plays at a faster pace and attempts roughly 5 more field goal attempts (including 3 more threes) per game than Ohio State.
"You know, they're a big dominant, physical team," Robinson said of Ohio State. "They got a dominant, dynamic 5 man (Kaleb Wesson) as well as other guards on the perimeter. Different kind of feel and brand of basketball than we're used to playing an opponent. We're just a bunch of dogs. We're ready for anything that anybody may throw at us."
Davis added, "Very methodical. They know what they want to do. I mean, like Galen said, a whole different type of basketball than we play because we like to run and gun, make everything fast. Play hard, aggressive. Like I said, just be focused and just ready to be ready for whatever they throw at us."
The winner of the Houston - Ohio State game will face the 2-seed Kentucky on Friday, March 29, in Kansas City. Time and broadcasting network for that game will be announced at a later date.
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