It’s looking more and more like the Big 12 will have two No. 1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Watching the ups and downs of men’s Oklahoma basketball this season, it is a difficult to fathom that the Sooners have actually held the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament five times.
Oklahoma has never won a national championship in men’s basketball, but the Sooners have been runner-up twice (1947 and 1988).
The Sooners have been to the Final Four five times (1939, 1947, 1988, 2002 and 2016). Only Kansas (15) and Oklahoma State (6) of the current Big 12 teams have been to the Final Four more times than OU.
The Sooners have been to the NCAA Tournament in six of Lon Kruger’s eight previous seasons as head coach. Kruger, of course, owns the distinction of being just one of two coaches to take five different teams to the NCAA Tournament. The Sooners are 7-6 in NCAA Tournament appearances under Kruger.
Kelvin Sampson, who coached Oklahoma from 1994 to 2006, leads all Sooner head coaches with 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. Billy Tubbs, who preceded Sampson and is the winningest head coach in OU basketball history, took the Sooners to nine NCAA Tournament in his 14 seasons at Oklahoma.
All three head coaches took an Oklahoma team to the Final Four, but only Tubbs’ 1987-88 Sooners advanced to the final game (Kansas defeated No. 1 seed Oklahoma 83-79 for the national championship that year).
All told, Oklahoma has made 32 NCAA Tournament appearances. Only Kansas (48) and Texas (32) have appeared more often. The Sooners have been as far as the Elite 8 nine different times. That ranks fourth among current Big 12 members behind Kansas (24), Kansas State (13) and Oklahoma State (11).
As for the current season, The Sooners are teetering on the edge of the dividing line and in danger of missing the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship for the first time in two seasons. In his latest projections, Joe Lunardi of ESPN has Oklahoma as a 12 seed and having to play its way in to the final 64-team tournament field.
It’s going to be a nervous next couple of weeks for Sooner basketball fans.