The race for eight on Monday at the men’s NCAAs started tight, but when the dust settled Oklahoma snuck inside the match play cut line and Arizona State was left on the outside looking in.
“Super excited to be here, obviously yesterday we got in by the skin of our teeth and today we didn’t have anything to lose,” Sooners coach Ryan Hybl said. “Our guys hung in there and they fought and they did a really great job today. It was awesome.”
Oklahoma, which only made it to Monday via a new tiebreaker, shot 3-under 277 to get into the match play portion of the tournament after entering the day nine shots out of eighth place. They will face conference rival Texas, which hung on to the No. 1 seed despite a round of 7-over 277. The Longhorns have not advanced beyond quarterfinals since winning the NCAA title in 2012
Only 10 strokes ultimately separated the top eight teams, with Illinois, LSU, Southern California, Vanderbilt, Oregon and South Carolina filling out the rest of the bracket.
LSU is back to defend its national championship which it won last year, while the Ducks, on their home course and riding the hot play of individual champion Aaron Wise, are headed to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012, when they lost to eventual champion Texas in the semifinals.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of tough rounds before, it was actually easier, if anything, than hard,” Wise said about the home-course advantage. “Having these people out here to cheer me on and root me on is something that I cherished and looked forward to today.”
But that's in the past. Everything gets thrown out the window once match play begins on Tuesday. For example, no top seed, on the men's or women's side, has gone on to win the title since the NCAA implemented match play in 2009.
it's a fact not lost on Oklahoma's Hybl.
“We’re going to play the Texas Longhorns who we see quite a bit and we’re just excited with this opportunity,” he said. “Anything can happen in match play.”