When I say ‘Oklahoma Sooners‘, what is the first thing you think of?
Maybe football, possibly Blake Griffin, but probably not their hoops program. To say that the Sooners have an average record of success at hoops is like saying Max and Ruby is an awesome TV show. As in, while both are true statements, nobody outside the people directly tied to them care.
However, the Sooners are trying to change a culture of mediocrity. Head coach Lon Kruger has been there for a few years now, and has had little success turning the program around. Although, all of that can’t be put on him as the program found itself in some hot water for violating a couple NCAA rules. Given that Kruger has been dealing with recruiting restrictions, it would be unfair to think the program would be rewarded with an at-large birth to the NCAA Tournament so quickly.
Yet, Kruger has Oklahoma fighting for a birth right now, in his third season, in a pretty tough Big 12 Conference. The Sooners currently have a 16-7 overall record, and only sit one game out from first in the conference. Not bad for a team that nobody can name a player on.
Whether it be Kruger’s talent that has led to such a quick turnaround or just one of the wackiest college basketball seasons ever, Oklahoma is finding themselves in a situation where they can make the program matter. In what seems to be a trend in most major conferences, the Sooners control their own fate the rest of the way. If they can capitalize this season, the sky might be the limit for the program.
All that’s left for Kruger and the Sooners is winning back the state from a pesky pesky in-state rival.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports who primarily covers the Catholic Seven. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone