Big 12 NCAA Resumes: Oklahoma SoonersPosted by KoryCarpenter on March 1st, 2013
Over the next few weeks, we’ll break down where each Big 12 bubble team stands in terms of its current NCAA Tournament resume. This time: the Oklahoma Sooners, who are trying to get back to the Dance for the first time since Blake Griffin was around campus.
Oklahoma has seen the kind of improvement fans probably hoped for when Lon Kruger was hired prior to last season. The Sooners were 15-16 (5-13 Big 12) and finished eighth in the conference. A year later, they are a win away from the school’s first 20-win season since 2008-09 and are in a good spot heading into Selection Sunday. The Sooners are led by senior forward Romero Osby, who leads the team with 15 PPG on an efficient 52.1%. They pass nearly every test for a team to make the Tournament, so they should be fine as long as they avoid any bad losses the next two weeks.
- Current Record: 18-9, 9-6 in the Big 12
- RPI: 27
- Record vs RPI top 50: 2-5
- Record vs RPI top 100: 7-8
- SOS: 9
Case For An At-Large Bid: They have a top 30 RPI and and a top 10 Strength of Schedule. Their seven wins against the RPI top 100 are more than bubble teams like Iowa State, Baylor, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and North Carolina. They are 3-1 in neutral site games and have beaten both Kansas and Oklahoma State. They were also bailed out after losing to Stephen F. Austin early in the season. The Lumberjacks are #77 in the RPI, keeping Oklahoma’s record against RPI teams 100+ at 11-1 instead of 10-2, which could be a big deal with the selection committee. Bad losses could hurt a team just as much as good wins help, so a thank you card might be in order for the Lumberjacks. But with an impressive strength of schedule and barring a loss to West Virginia or TCU to end the season, the Sooners should have nothing to worry about.
Case Against An At-Large Bid: Their 2-5 record against the top 50 isn’t great, and 11 of their 18 wins came against teams outside the RPI top 100. The loss on Wednesday to Texas (RPI #125) won’t help their cause, either. And if they lose at home on Saturday to fellow bubble team Iowa State, it would drop their top 100 record to 7-9 with no chances to improve it in the regular season.
Do They Pass The Eye Test? They have played one of the toughest schedules in the country and should end up with 22 to 24 wins and a fifth place finish in the Big 12, making it hard to picture them without an NCAA bid. The sweep of Baylor and the wins over Oklahoma State and Kansas are better than what a lot of bubble teams can boast as well. Every bracket used to come up with the bracket matrix has the Sooners in the dance, all 86 of them. That’s a lot of eyeballs.
What They Must Do From Here: They end the season against Iowa State, West Virginia, and TCU. If they go 3-0, they’re probably a lock to make the Dance. But if they’re going to drop one of those, they might be best off losing to Iowa State, who is #54 in the RPI. A loss to West Virginia (#119) or TCU (#228) would be another bad loss to go with this week’s loss to Texas (#125) and Stephen F. Austin, which might not be such a terrible loss numbers-wise. But the selection committee is made up of humans, and losses to teams like Stephen F. Austin could be hard to forgive, no matter where they rank in the RPI.