Amath M'Baye, Kevin Young

Oklahoma earns resume-defining win with upset of No. 5 Kansas

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We knew that Oklahoma was a pretty good basketball team heading into today’s game with No. 5 Kansas.

We knew that they had plenty of size and athleticism. We knew that their big men were difficult to matchup with. We knew that they had Steven Pledger and Romero Osby and Amath M’Baye.

But none of that will earn you a bid to the NCAA tournament. A strong profile will, and as of this morning, the Sooners’ profile didn’t necessarily stand out. Their RPI (21st) and strength of schedule (7th) was enough that, when combined with wins over Oklahoma State (28th in the RPI) and at Baylor (46th in the RPI), the Sooners likely won’t be sweating on Selection Sunday.

That said, nothing on their resume truly stood out. Until Saturday, when the Sooners held off a late Jayhawk surge to beat Kansas 72-66.

The upset win throws the Big 12 into utter disarray. It’s the third straight loss for the Jayhawks, who fall a game back of Kansas State for first place in the league race. Oklahoma State is a game off the pace, while Iowa State has a chance to make things even messier by beating Bruce Weber’s Wildcat team this evening. Baylor’s even in the mix, after a win over Texas Tech put them two games out of first place.

And who knows, with a relatively ‘meh’ schedule down the stretch of the season — the Sooners get TCU twice and Texas Tech, West Virginia and Texas once — Oklahoma could make a run at the league title. That’s a big deal.

But that also means we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Barring a collapse down the stretch of the season, the Sooners essentially clinched themselves a tournament berth. They did so by beating Kansas at a time when they had lost two straight (including a 19 point whooping from Iowa State), three of their last four and four of their last six.

A resume-defining win in a pivotal game of the season coming off of a losing streak?

Well it just doesn’t get much better than that.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.