Oklahoma basketball: Sooners get, give little love in February

February hasn’t been the kindest month for Oklahoma basketball in recent seasons.

February is the month of Valentine’s Day, but Oklahoma hasn’t been on the receiving end of much love in that critical month of the college basketball season.

In the eight seasons Lon Kruger has been the Sooners’ head coach. Oklahoma is just 21-34 in February, and three times in those eight seasons, the Sooners have won two or fewer games. They have posted a February record over .500 just once in Kruger’s seven full seasons in Norman.

Oklahoma’s 79-71 loss Saturday at West Virginia marked the sixth time in the last eight seasons that the Sooners have lost their first game in the month of February.

Saturday was the second day of February, otherwise known as Groundhog Day. It was pretty apparent that the Oklahoma players saw their shadow and went into hiding against a struggling West Virginia team, because not much went right for the Sooners in losing for the second time in the same week.

Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, the Sooners have played seven times on Groundhog Day. OU is 4-3 in those games, but just 1-2, including Saturday’s loss, under Kruger.

In the last three seasons, including the year the Sooners made it to the Final Four, Oklahoma is 7-16 in February. In 15 total games in February the past two seasons, OU has fared even worse, prevailing just three times.

The Sooners’ best season in the month of February under Kruger was in 2015, Buddy Hield’s junior season at OU. The Sooners were 6-1 in February that season, going 4-0 at home.

While Oklahoma’s winning percentage is just .382 in the month of February during the Kruger era, the Sooners have played better at home in February than on the road. OU is 16-9 in February at the Lloyd Noble Center, but only 5-25 away from home.

Oklahoma’s 2019 February schedule is as daunting as ever. The Sooners’ six remaining games in the month are against teams that are all currently above them in the standings. They will host both Iowa State and Texas Tech this week at the LNC and have a home Red River rematch with Texas on Feb. 23. The Sooners will be on the road at Baylor, TCU and Iowa State during the month.

There are no easy games in the Big 12 this season, and OU’s historical struggles in the month of February are one addition factor to have to contend with.

Note to frustrated Sooner fans: Both the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams remain No. 1 in the nation, and we’re just a week away from the start of the softball season for the No. 4-ranked Sooners and just a little over a month away from the start of spring football practice.

 

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