Oklahoma basketball rises to season-high No. 7 in AP poll

The Oklahoma basketball ascendance up the national rankings continues this week, with the Sooners advancing two spots to No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 25.

Courtesy of upsets of No. 6 Houston and No. 7 Virginia over the weekend, Oklahoma (14-5, 9-4) also moved upward two spots in the weekly Coaches Poll, from 10th to 8th.

It was just four weeks ago that the Sooners made their first appearance of the 2020-21 season in the top 25, edging into the No. 24 slot in the AP poll after an impressive home win over then-No. 6 Kansas. Since then, OU is 5-1 with three wins over teams ranked in the top-15 at the time the game was played.

What a turnaround when you consider that this is the same Oklahoma team that failed to receive a single vote in the Associated Press preseason poll and was picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Big 12 standings this season.

The top two places remain unchanged in both national polls, with undefeated Gonzaga and Baylor separating themselves from the rest of the field, although Baylor has not played since Feb. 2 and has has six consecutive games postponed because of COVID protocols within the Bears’ program.

The AP poll continues to have six Big 12 teams (Baylor, OU, West Virginia in the top 10; Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas in the second 10) ranked in the top 25. Oklahoma State joins that group in the Coaches Poll, at No. 21.

A little over a month ago, ESPN “Bracketology” swami Joe Lunardi projected the Sooners as one of the “last four in” the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and having to survive a midweek play-in game to make it into the final 64-team field. As of last weekend, however, Lunardi had Oklahoma as a No. 3 seed.

Jerry Palm, Lunardi’s counterpart at CBS has an even higher opinion of the Sooners. He projects OU currently on the No. 2 line as one of the top eight overall seeds.

Oklahoma’ highest NCAA Tournament seeds since 2000 have been No. 2 three times (2002, 2009 and 2016) and No. 3 three times (2000, 2005 and 2015).