OU basketball drops to three line in new ‘Bracketology’ projections

MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 06: Sagaba Konate
MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 06: Sagaba Konate /

Last week was not a good one for Oklahoma basketball or fans thereof.

The Sooners lost twice in a five-day span, and the twin shortfall scuttled their rise to the two line in Joe Lunardi’s “Bracketology” projections for this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. OU is fortunate it didn’t fall further, and they will for sure if they are unable to defeat Big 12 basketball king Kansas this week, but Lunardi now has the Sooners as a three seed.

Early in the week, the Sooners’ high-powered offense was throttled by unranked Kansas State, a team Oklahoma has had trouble against no matter what season it is when the game is played in Manhattan, Kansas.

Freshman phenom Trae Young was held to 20 points, equaling his second-lowest scoring game of the season. In the process, Oklahoma scored just 69 points, 22 below its season average. Meanwhile, K-State rolled up 87 points with very little defensive resistance, handing the Sooners their worst defeat of the season.

Then, over the weekend, the Sooners showed up a little late in their Bedlam rematch with in-state archrival Oklahoma State. OU found themselves behind 25-6 less than 10 minutes into the game. The Sooners actually overcame that early deficit, thanks to a sensational 48-point effort by Young, and took a five-point lead late in the game.

An OU defensive breakdown, however, resulted in a game-tying trey by Oklahoma State with the game clocking winding down, sending the game to overtime, and the Sooners never regained the lead, falling 83-81and suffering a second consecutive defeat.

The Sooners entered the week ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 with a 4-1 record in Big 12 play and a share of the conference lead. After back-to-back conference losses, Trae Young and Company are mired in a three-way tie for third place in the Big 12 standings and in danger of dropping further back, and virtually out of the conference title chase, if they lose at home to Kansas on Tuesday.

Oklahoma Sooners Basketball
Oklahoma Sooners Basketball /

Oklahoma Sooners Basketball

Meanwhile, the Jayhawks, who a week ago before pulling out a come-from-behind win at West Virginia appeared to be on shaky ground in their bid to capture a record-setting 14th consecutive conference crown, are now perched atop the standings with a one-game advantage over West Virginia and two games ahead of the Sooners.

Lunardi still has six teams out of the Big 12 projected to make the NCAA Tournament, with Kansas, a two seed, the highest seed among Big 12 teams. OU and West Virginia are projected as three seeds. Texas Tech is a four seed, TCU a seven seed and Texas is currently on the nine line in Lunardi’s rolling projections.

Kansas State and Baylor are still in range of securing a tournament bid, according to Lunardi, but both have some work still to do. K-State certainly helped its cause last week, defeating two ranked teams (Oklahoma and TCU). Lunardi has the Wildcats as among the first four left out of the tournament field.

K-State switched places with Baylor in the latest Bracketology mock tournament field. Baylor is one of the second four left out of the Big Dance.

The good news, or bad news if you are of a pessimistic persuasion, is that we’re still a good six or seven weeks away from locking down the 68-team NCAA Tournament field. Much could and will happen between now and then to dramatically alter the seedings and separate the real contenders from the pretenders.

Buckle up for a bumpy ride.