It’s a slide people in college basketball will be talking about for a longtime.
At 14-2, the Oklahoma Sooners rose to No. 4 in the country in the Associated Press’ college basketball poll. They led the country in scoring. Trae Young was well on his way to sweeping every major award for overall play, freshman, and point guards given out in college basketball. Then ranked No. 25 USC, No. 3 Wichita State, No. 10 TCU, No. 8 Texas Tech, and No. 16 TCU (again) were victims of the Sooners sudden rise. Oklahoma was world-beaters, and then they were not.
After their loss in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma is now 18-13–a 4-11 record since rising to the top of college basketball. Now, the question lingers: will Oklahoma be left out of the NCAA Tournament?
“Instead of taking care of business we left it in the committee’s hands,” Trae Young said after the game last night. “I think our resume speaks for itself. I think we had the toughest schedule in America.
“We had to go to Wichita State and play there, USC, a really good team. We played some Pac-12 teams in Oregon and then we played in the toughest conference in America. I think our resume speaks for itself. Instead of us taking care of business we left it in their hands, but we’ll see what happens.”
The fall has come at the hands of seeing social media and members of the media discuss if Oklahoma is even deserving of getting into the tournament. After last night’s game, it could be hard to be comfortable going into Sunday, but Lon Kruger knows it is out of their hands now.
“Well, it’s irrelevant, you know. We didn’t take care of our business (in Kansas City), so we don’t have any say in that at this point,” Kruger said. “But, again, when you look at the nonconference schedule and the number of quality wins, you know, that’s what the committee will do.”
Their resume does speak for itself despite their fall.
According to the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s metrics for deciding seeding and who gets in the tournament, Oklahoma should feel good about where they stand. They have six wins against Quadrant I teams according to the NCAA Tournament criteria. Oklahoma has a 9-14 record against Quadrant I and II teams. Their schedule is ranked 25th in the country, and they are 47th in the RPI.
Diving deeper, Eli Boettger of USA Today sports compared Oklahoma’s resume against other teams who are considered in the tournament:
Oklahoma has a top 40 RPI, no more than three losses to non-tournament teams (all top 150 RPI), and as many/more Q1+Q2 wins than these teams:
— Eli Boettger (@boettger_eli) March 8, 2018
When looking back at previous years with teams in the same scenario as Oklahoma, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel shows that the Sooners actually are in better shape than those same teams:
20-13 overall, 4-9 vs. Top 50, 8-12 vs. Top 100. No. 61 RPI. Got a 10 seed.
19-15 overall, 6-8 vs. Top 50, 11-14 vs Top 100. No. 38 RPI. Got a 9 seed.
18-13 overall, 6-10 vs. Top 50, 9-12 vs. Top 100. No. 46 RPI.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 8, 2018
Trae Young and the Sooners are on a historic slide, but it would take a different interpretation of the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s criteria for them to be out on Selection Sunday.
Deserving or not, Oklahoma is in, and should feel comfortable about hearing their name called when the time comes this Sunday.