Oklahoma basketball history in NCAA Men's Tournament

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

While Porter Moser led his Loyola of Chicago Ramblers to two NCAA Tournament appearances in his last four seasons there, he has come up empty in his three seasons as head coach of the Oklahoma basketball Sooners.

To be fair, in two of the last three seasons, the Sooners have missed out on March Madness by being one of the first two teams left out of the NCAA Tournament. You're either in or you're out, however, and the painful fact is that Oklahoma has been home watching the tournament for three years running.

It's probably no secret to anyone who follows college sports that the University of Oklahoma is highly competitive on a national scale in several collegiate sports, including men's and women's basketball, but there is no mistaking that Oklahoma is -- first, foremost and probably forever -- known best as a football school.

What does that have to do with the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, you ask? The Sooners may be absent this year from the NCAA Men's Tournament --by either omission or comission, take your pick -- but, in fact, they have a rich history of participation in the NCAA Tournament.

The Sooner men have made 33 appearances in the NCAA Basketball Championship since the first year of the tournament in 1939. That would put them in the top 20 of all schools. There last appearance was in 2021 in Lon Kruger's final season as the Oklahoma head coach. Kruger was at OU 10 seasons (2011-2021) and took the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament eight times, advancing as far as the Final Four in 2016.

Kelvin Sampson, the current head coach at Houston, a No. 1 seed in the South Region of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, was at Oklahoma 12 seasons (1994-2006). The Sooners appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 11 of those 12 seasons and made it as far as the Final Four in 2002, losing to Indiana in the national semifinals, and the Elite Eight in 2003.

Billy Tubbs was at the helm of Oklahoma men's basketball for 14 seasons (1980-1994). During that span, the Sooners made nine NCAA Tournament appearances. The 1987-88 Sooner team played in the national championship game against Kansas, losing 83-76 to Danny Manning and the No. 6-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Tubbs' 1984-85 OU team, led by Wayman Tisdale, lost in the Elite Eight round to No. 2 Memphis State 63-61 in the Midwest Region final.

In total, the Oklahoma men are 43-33 in NCAA Tournament action. The Sooners have participated in five Final Fours (1939, 1947, 1988, 2002 and 2016), been to the Elite Eight round nine times and made 11 Sweet 16 appearances.

Between 1984 and 2021, Oklahoma made 28 NCAA appearances, ninth most in college basketball behind only Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan State and Syracuse.

The Sooners have been absent from the NCAA Tournament for the past three seasons, but they certainly are not strangers to March Madness.