by RENALDO DORSETT
For the second consecutive year, the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 features an unlikely matchup of two Bahamian players facing each other on the biggest stage in college basketball.
Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners will go up against Tavario Miller and his Texas A and M Aggies in the West Regional Semifinal, Thursday at 7:30pm, broadcast live on TBS.
Hosted at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, the game will feature two of the country’s most high profile collegiate players and a matchup of Grand Bahama (Hield) versus Long Island (Miller).
Oklahoma (27-7) is ranked No.2 in the region while the Aggies (28-8) are ranked No.3.
The Sooners’ path to Anaheim included an 82-68 win over No.15 Cal-State Bakersfield and an 85-81 win over No. 10 VCU.
Hield, a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year Award, is the tournament’s leading scorer at 31.5 points per game through the opening rounds.
Aggies advanced to the Sweet 16 with one of the greatest comeback efforts in NCAA tournament history.
Texas was nearly the second casualty of the 11th ranked Northern Iowa Panthers before they rallied to pull off a 92-88 win in double overtime.
Miller finished with two rebounds and one steal.
The Aggies overcame a seemingly insurmountable 10-point deficit with 30 seconds left to play in regulation, and battled back to force overtime.
In the opening round, the Aggies defeated the Green Bay Phoenix 92-65. Miller finished with points and five rebounds.
In last year’s Sweet 16, it was Hield going up against fellow Bahamian and former high school teammate at Sunrise Academy, Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr.
Hield had the better individual performance, but the Spartans emerged with the 62-58 win at the Carrier Dome to advance to the East Regional final or “Elite 8.”
Hield scored a team high 21 points and grabbed six rebounds while Nairn finished with just one assist in 11 minutes.
With over 24,000 in attendance and millions of college Basketball enthusiasts around the world watching, the Bahamas got unlimited exposure with the future NBA prospects going head to head.