Oklahoma basketball: Joe Lunardi has OU as No. 68 of 68 NCAA Tournament teams

They call the last player taken in the NFL Draft Mr. Irrelevant. As of Tuesday morning, that was the status of Oklahoma men’s basketball in the latest Bracketology projection of the 2023 NCAA Tournament field by ESPN college basketball master analyst Joe Lunardi.

That’s a move up for the Sooners who were out of Lunardi’s NCAA Tournament projections after suffering three straight Big 12 losses. Oklahoma has been in Lunardi’s rolling projection of what the tournament field will look like come March Madness time in March for a good part of the season, but over the past couple of weeks has been dropping downward.

A couple of weeks ago, Lunardi had Oklahoma on the 11 line as one of the last four byes to make the tournament field. A week ago, the Sooners were listed as one of the next four teams (after the first four) out of the tournament field.

Oklahoma’s statement win last weekend over No. 2-ranked Alabama provided the bump the Sooners needed to regain NCAA Tournament consideration from Lunardi and others around the college basketball landscape. But this is a very fickle environment full of unpredictability and what have you done for yourself lately.

The Sooners and their head coach Porter Moser are collectively hoping the Alabama win is the spark OU needs to turnaround their season. They’ve seen what they can do when they play a complete, complementary game enabling their offensive efficiency with tough defense and limiting costly turnovers.

The rest of the season begins Wednesday at home facing Bedlam rival Oklahoma State. Round II of 2023 Bedlam will be a good test to see how the Sooners are able to build on the sweetness of this past weekend and at the same time reverse the anger and hurt they felt in getting blown out in the second half in Stillwater a couple of weeks ago after leading 30-24 at the half.

Oklahoma is probably going to have to win at least four or five of their remaining 10 games to have a chance for a spot in the March NCAA Tournament field. And in a conference as strong as the Big 12 is this season, that will be a huge undertaking.