Oklahoma basketball: Sooners all the way up to No. 12 in polls

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08: Christian James
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08: Christian James /

Oklahoma basketball is 5-0 in the month of December, and on Tuesday the Sooners were ranked 12th in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.

In the last two-plus weeks, the Oklahoma men have gone from unranked all the way the No. 12 in the national rankings. powered by road wins over then-No. 25 Southern California and, a week later, over No. 3 Wichita State.

The Sooners advanced to No. 17 after beating Wichita State, and advanced five more spots after throttling Northwestern 104-78 at Lloyd Noble Center last Friday. Northwestern was an NCAA Tournament team a year ago, and the Big Ten school began the current season ranked 19th in the AP College Basketball Preseason Poll.

Everybody knew Oklahoma was going to be much improved with an added year of experience by a very young Sooner squad, but mostly because of the addition of one of the top recruits in the country in freshman sensation Trae Young, who grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, in the shadow of the Lloyd Noble Center.

Young not only has been the unequivocal leader of the Oklahoma basketball resurgence, from a team that was just 11-20 last season, but is the best in the nation through 11 games in both scoring (28.7 average) and assists (10.2 per game). The OU super freshman is easily the biggest surprise of the college season after the first month and a half.

Three Big 12 teams hold down the 10, 11 and 12 spots in this week’s AP rankings, and the Sooners have a date this Saturday against the No. 10-ranked team, TCU, at TCU. Oklahoma is 2-0 so far this season against ranked teams, and will be looking to make it 3-0 against 12-0 TCU in the Big 12 opener for both teams. The last time OU played TCU in Ft. Worth, in early January a year ago, the Horned Frogs prevailed by three points, 60-57.

Eleven-time Big 12 defending champion Kansas (9-2) is 11th in both the AP and Coaches polls.

Three other Big 12 schools are ranked this week in the AP Top 25. West Virginia is at No. 7, Baylor (10-2) is No. 18 (17 in the Coaches Poll) and Texas Tech (11-1) is No. 22 (21 in the Coaches Poll).

The top five in this week’s AP rankings are Villanova, Michigan State, Arizona State, Duke and Texas A&M. The top five in the Coaches Poll are slightly different: Villanova, Michigan State, Duke, Arizona State and Xavier.

The six ranked Big 12 teams this week represents the most of any conference. The Atlantic Coast Conference is next with five ranked teams. No other conference has more than three.