NORMAN — The anxiety Oklahoma’s players feel is going to last for about 48 more hours. The NCAA Tournament bracket will be released at 5 p.m. Sunday on CBS. Only then, will the Sooners know for sure if they’re in the field of 68.
The loss to Iowa State Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament meant OU failed to add an emphatic late-season victory to its résumé.
As far as getting into the field, OU shouldn’t have to worry. Since 2000 there has been two specific criteria Big 12 Conference teams have needed to get at-large bids to the Big Dance. Teams ranked in the top 49 of the final RPI rankings and have double-digit conference victories have always gotten in.
It might go back further, but accurate RPI rankings heading into the NCAA Tournament from the 1990s were not immediately unavailable.
The Sooners were No. 39 in the RPI Friday afternoon and they went 11-7 in the Big 12 Conference.
The only Big 12 team that’s ever failed to get in with at least 10 conference wins was Kansas State in 2007. The Wildcats were No. 80 in the RPI that year.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and CBS Sports Jerry Palm both had the Sooners as a No. 11 seed Friday afternoon. Neither has any influence with the NCAA Tournament selection committee, but they are considered the most accurate when it comes to forecasting the field.
There was interesting side note in Lunardi’s projection: He has the Sooners facing one of OU coach Lon Kruger’s former teams, UNLV, in the first round in Austin, Texas.
· Top 40 RPI team: The Sooners are No. 37 in the Ratings Percentage Index as Friday morning. The last team from BCS conference that failed to get an NCAA Tournament berth with a top 40 RPI heading into selection Sunday was Cincinnati in 2006.
· OU’s conference record: The Sooners went 11-7 in the Big 12 Conference