The No. 25 Oklahoma Sooners have surprised many by defeating teams like the Texas Longhorns, then No. 9 Iowa State Cyclones and No. 12 Baylor Bears. Their ranking reflects their success in a poor non-conference schedule, followed by an impressive performance in one of the most difficult conferences in college basketball. However, their 15-4 record included a loss or two to teams that they should have been expected to defeat. That’s why their eventual win over the last place Big 12 team, the TCU Horned Frogs, was so important.
TCU put up a good fight — Karviar Shepard had a double-double and Kyan Anderson had 23 points. However, Oklahoma was able to survive this onslaught due to five of their players scoring in double-digits and their bench chipping in with 20 points. Ryan Spangler had 13 points and 16 rebounds en route to a 77 -69 victory.
A loss to the Horned Frogs would have devastated Oklahoma’s 2014 NCAA Tournament chances. In a conference as difficult as the Big 12, they could lose any game at any time. Including the Sooners, eight teams in the Big 12 are ranked. One loss to one of the unranked teams, especially one with a 150+ RPI, could be the difference in going to the Big Dance and going to the NIT.
However, Oklahoma didn’t lose, and at the moment, they should be in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Their record isn’t perfect, but as long as they win five or six more games, they should slide into March Madness with ease.