Feb 27, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners forward Romero Osby (24) shoots against the Texas Longhorns during the second half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. Texas beat Oklahoma 92-86. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Bracketology 2013: Will Sooners late losses kill tournament chances?

 

With the NCAA college basketball tournament and Bracketology predictions, a team who has a great year can see everything fall apart at the end with bad losses to close out the season. There is no team that this is more evident to than the Oklahoma Sooners. Romero Osby knows exactly how a great season can end up on the wrong side of the bubble.

It seemed like the Mississippi State Bulldogs were a lock in most Bracketology predictions when Osby played there in 2009-10, but the team lost three of their last four games, with two of those losses to ranked teams. They even beat a ranked team towards the end of the season, but thanks to those three losses, a 23-win Mississippi State was shut out of the NCAA tournament.

The Oklahoma Sooners only won 20 games in 2012-13, but they looked strong. Most of their early losses were to strong teams. However, the season ended in a bad way for the Sooners. Oklahoma finished the regular season against six teams ranked below them in the Big 12. It seemed like the coast was clear for the Sooners first trip to the Big Dance since Blake Griffin played.

Even after a loss to the Texas Longhorns, it seemed Oklahoma was heading to the tournament. However, in the last game of the regular season, the inexplicable happened and Oklahoma lost to the worst team in the Big 12, the TCU Horned Frogs. Then Oklahoma had one more chance to redeem themselves in the Big 12 tournament, but lost to the Iowa State Cyclones in their first game. This is the same Iowa State team that OU beat 12 days earlier by 17 points.

Something happened to Oklahoma and they ended up losing their last two games heading in the big selection show. Interestingly, ESPN’s Bracketology still has Oklahoma as an 11-seed as of early afternoon on March 17, which would be nice placement because it would keep them out of the No. 1 teams bracket until the Elite Eight – however, after their last two games, getting that far would be a stretch of the imagination.

But one has to wonder if the last two losses might eliminate the Oklahoma Sooners completely, like it did Mississippi State. The selection committee cares most about how good a team is heading into the tournament. Bracketology predictions are fun, but until the selection committee calls the Sooners’ name, this will be a year that has most Sooners’ fans on the edge of their seats.

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