Oklahoma basketball: OU’s Big 12 Tournament seeding in flux

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08: Alex Robinson
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08: Alex Robinson /

With the final weekend of the regular season at hand, by day’s end we will know who and when the men’s Oklahoma basketball will play in its first game in the Big 12 Tournament, but what happens beyond that is anyone’s guess.

All season long, it has appeared there were four Big 12 teams — Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia and Texas Tech who were considered locks to make the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

Most of the college basketball experts have been predicting that five Big 12 teams would make the NCAA Tournament, with Oklahoma being the fifth team, but hovering on and around the proverbial “bubble.”

After Texas defeated Oklahoma this week and recorded its fifth straight conference win, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and other basketball bracketology wizards have Texas punching its way into the NCAA Tournament field.

Texas is going to finish the regular season no worse than 9-9 in the conference, and with a home game against Oklahoma State, it is likely that the Longhorns will finish at 10-8, which could be enough to get them a three seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament, assuming Kansas gets by Texas Tech on the road on Saturday.

Had Oklahoma held on to defeat Texas earlier this week, it could have been the Sooners in the Longhorns’ place. Now the pressure is on for OU to have to win at TCU or run the risk of dropping all the way down to a seven seed in the conference tournament, which means the Sooners would not receive a first-round bye and would have to play its way into the quarterfinal round.

Looking at the bright side, a win at TCU on Saturday would earn Oklahoma a No. 4 or No. 5 seed and would set up a first-round bye and a rematch with either Texas Tech or Texas in next Thursday’s Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals. Such an outcome would also likely secure the Sooners a ticket to their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, probably as a 10 seed.

The bottom line is Lon Kruger’s guys have put themselves in a tough position and with a minscule margin for error.

Win on Saturday, and the prognosis looks pretty good; lose, and all bets are off. It’s really that simple.