MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Buddy Hield is embarking on the biggest weekend of his collegiate career but the 6-foot-4, 212-pound Oklahoma guard doesn’t believe the Villanova matchup in Saturday’s Final Four will be the toughest game of the season.
“Nah, they’re not the toughest,’’ Hield said Thursday. “West Virginia is the toughest team we’ve faced all year.”
The Sooners and the Mountaineers played three times this season, but WVU did a number on Hield in the Big 12 semifinal game on March 11, 2015.
The Mountaineers held Hield to six points on 1-for-8 shooting from the floor in the 69-67 thriller.
“They just made it uncomfortable,’’ Hield said. “As soon as I caught it, they sent a guy after me to trap me.”
Hield averaged 23 points in the two regular season meetings between Oklahoma and WVU.
The Bahamas native averaged 25.4 points this season and scored in double digits in every game leading up to the final matchup against the Mountaineers.
WVU’s game plan against Hield was to keep the ball away from him, and the Mountaineers did just that. Daxter Miles Jr. was the leader of stopping Hield.
WVU trapped the college basketball phenom furiously. They limited his touches in the open court and applied the pressure without sending Hield to the free throw line.
It was a feat that no other team was able to do all season.
Not even the Wildcats the first time they faced the Sooners. In December, Oklahoma thumped Villanova 78-55.
But don’t think Hield and his teammates are taking the Wildcats lightly. The senior knows beating Villanova is going to be a tough task.
“They’re a completely different team now and better defensively,’’ he said, “So it’s going to be a tough