Oklahoma basketball: Can OU make a surprising tournament run?

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How Oklahoma basketball is going to fare from game to game has been anyone’s guess most of the year, but that doesn’t mean the Sooners aren’t capable of putting together enough good showings to make a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

When you look at the Sooners, you could file the team as “just happy to be here” after a subpar and inconsistent run through the Big 12 this season. Oklahoma basketball went just 2-6 all year against ranked opponents and the last time we saw them on the court they were spent most of crunch time squandering offensive possessions in a 72-71 loss to West Virginia.

However, these Sooners were selected as a No. 9 seed because there is upside to a team that has some of the pieces in place to make a potential run to at least the Sweet 16. Let’s look at all the reasons Oklahoma basketball fans should be excited heading into the NCAA Tournament.

The Sooners were excellent against non-conference opponents

The Big 12 was weird this year. Kansas didn’t win the league for the first time since 2004 and parity seemed to reign for nearly every team in the conference. The same No. 10 seeded West Virginia team that Oklahoma went toe to toe with in the Big 12 Tournament went on to knock off conference co-champion Texas Tech. The Sooners themselves notched wins over TCU and Kansas and an Iowa State team the Sooners had on the ropes in Ames before falling by one point won the whole conference tourney.

Meanwhile, outside of their own tumultuous conference, the Sooners were pretty darn good. They posted an 11-1 record against non-conference opponents including wins over the likes Notre Dame, USC, Creighton, Northwestern and Wichita State. They also had a 2-0 record against the SEC, including a win over Florida, which beat first-round opponent Ole Miss in the only matchup between the two squads this year.

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