Bracketology 2013. The Oklahoma Sooners are back in the hunt for a March Madness spot.
When Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald came to the Oklahoma Sooners basketball program as freshmen, the school was coming off an Elite 8 appearance. They joined two McDonald’s All-Americans and things looked bright. The team fell apart and head coach Jeff Capel lost his job. The program was hit with NCAA punishments for illegal recruiting and things suddenly looked very dark.
On March 6, Pledger and Fitzgerald took the floor as seniors and helped lead the Sooners to a big 83-70 won over the West Virginia Mountaineers to improve the Sooners record to 20-9. Lon Kruger worked miracles with this OU team and it was largely due to the two men who stuck with Oklahoma through the good and the bad. Now, after a win in which the Sooners led from start to finish, never trailing once in the game, Oklahoma looks to finally make it back to the Big Dance.
Pledger finished his final regular season home game as a member of the Sooners with 23 points and eight rebounds. Fitzgerald only scored five points, but all five came when West Virginia was closing in at the end and he helped put the Sooners in the win column.
There are no guarantees when it comes to Bracketology.
Romero Osby knows that. On a night where the senior scored 26 points, he knew Oklahoma had to win the game. He played for Mississippi State before he transferred to OU. He played for a team that won 23 games in 2009-10. However, that team lost three of their last five regular season games and the NCAA committee passed on them for the Big Dance.
Osby knew the Oklahoma Sooners had to finish the season strong.
Oklahoma lost to Texas on Feb. 27, and another loss to an unranked team could kill all the Sooners’ momentum, including erasing memories of their big win over Kansas on Feb. 9. However, Oklahoma beat the Iowa State Cyclones, which looks even better after the Cyclones beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys tonight. Now, Oklahoma finishes off their season with a road trip to play the TCU Horned Frogs, a team that beat Kansas but lost every other Big 12 game they played this season. Oklahoma beat them last time they played by 27 points.
A win there, and unless OU fails miserably in the Big 12 tournament, the Sooners should be in the March Madness basketball tournament. It’s still a game of Bracketology, but with their quality wins, combined with only one poor loss, OU should find themselves on the right side of the bubble this season.
Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald deserve it, and the fans will owe a debt of gratitude to the two young men that never stopped bleeding Sooner Red.