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.