The Bracketology Report: Oklahoma

Updated: January 28, 2004, 12:11 PM ET
By Charlie Creme | Insider Bracketologist

Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.

Week in review
The state of Oklahoma has its fair share of woodsheds, and we now know the Sooners have seen the backs of a few. That's because Connecticut, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech each took Oklahoma (RPI No. 42, SOS No. 95) there over the last two weeks. Fortunately for the Sooners they were able to stop the bleeding Saturday with a 61-49 home win over Kansas State (RPI No. 121, SOS No. 155), but the damage, both on The Bracketology Report and to Oklahoma psyche, had been done.

Last Monday's 67-47 loss at Texas Tech (RPI No. 13, SOS No. 39) dropped Oklahoma to 0-3 in the Big XII, the program's worst conference start in 23 seasons. It also marked the Sooners' first four-game losing streak in five years. That will happen when you shoot just 32 percent and commit 16 turnovers in a rough road game.

The Sooners didn't shoot much better overall on Saturday, but did make eight 3-pointers in route to a 61-49 victory over KSU (RPI No. 121, SOS No. 155). Just before the game Oklahoma learned it would be without forward Kevin Bookout for the rest of the season, but the previously struggling Jason Detrick finally looked healthy and rose to the occasion with 24 points.

It took something as dramatic as head coach Kelvin Sampson going against his philosophy-playing zone for most of game-for the Sooners to get back in the win column.

Coming up
If, in fact, the win over Kansas State does restore some confidence for the young Sooners, then this will be a good time to capitalize on it. Oklahoma has three more very winnable games, two coming this week.

Baylor (RPI No. 224, SOS No. 144) just ended a five-game losing streak of its own on Saturday at Iowa State, but the Bears are still offensively challenged. They are near the bottom of every major Big XII offensive category. Unfortunately for the Sooners, one of those spots Baylor doesn't find itself in the basement is field goal percentage. Who's last? Oklahoma. Meaning there could be plenty of rebounds available on Wednesday night.

Sunday's game in Norman against Nebraska (RPI No. 91, SOS No. 139) presents only a slightly greater challenge. The Cornhuskers have lost four of their last five, with the one win coming over Baylor.

Sampson may feel more comfortable reverting back to form, though, and playing his normal man-to-man defense in that contest. Nebraska is the Big 12's most accurate 3-point shooting team, but has not beaten Oklahoma since the 1998-99 season.

"Bubble trouble"
The Sooners are No. 42 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. This makes Oklahoma a No. 11 seed.

As the recent losing streak grew, so did the number of Oklahoma's seed. Just two weeks ago, the Sooners were No. 21 on The Bracketology Report. Now they are just hanging on, barely avoiding placement in the dangerous "Last Four In" category.

With a weak strength of schedule outside the Big XII, Oklahoma needs to turn things around quickly in conference play. If the Sooners' Big XII mark is below .500 at this time next week, they will have a tough time staying in the projected NCAA field.

Games of the Week
Sooners fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS.
For PURDUE @ Indiana (Tue.)
MICHIGAN STATE @ Minnesota (Wed.)
Against UC Irvine @ Utah State (Thur.)
LSU @ Alabama (Sat.)


Inside the Numbers
Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include:
"Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) NONE
(vs. RPI 26-50) @Michigan State, Purdue
(vs. RPI 51-100) NONE
"Bad" losses
(vs. RPI 101-150) NONE
(vs. RPI sub-150) NONE
Record vs. projected field (2-3)
Win: Purdue, Jackson State
Loss: @Connecticut, @Texas Tech, @Oklahoma State
Record vs. at-large pool (1-1)
Win: @Michigan State
Loss: Missouri
Reason(s) to INCLUDE Oklahoma
  • NonConf RPI No. 50
  • Someone (poll voters?) still likes them.
  • Reason(s) to EXCLUDE Oklahoma
  • NonConf SOS No. 206
  • 2-4 vs. RPI Top 100.
  • Season breakdown (11-4, 1-3)
    All RPI data through Sunday, Jan. 26

    Date      Opponent            Result      Opp.RPI      Opp.SOS
    11/21     Eastern Wash.       69-59         190          165
    11/22     Oral Roberts        84-68         136          219
    11/25     Tulsa               81-73         152          50

    12/2 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 94-24 318 244 12/6 @Michigan State 80-77 (ot) 48 7 12/11 Purdue 47-45 47 145 12/13 Prairie View A&M 83-56 298 237 12/20 Jackson State 68-46 237 292 12/29 Texas-Pan American 72-57 313 230

    1/3 N-Princeton 58-55 123 80 1/11 @Connecticut 59-86 (L) 15 27 1/14 @Oklahoma State 56-77 (L) 25 76 1/17 Missouri 75-79 (L, ot) 42 54 1/19 @Texas Tech 47-67 (L) 13 39 1/24 Kansas State 61-49 121 155 1/28 @Baylor 224 144

    2/1 @Nebraska 91 139 2/4 Iowa State 72 163 2/8 @Texas 22 40 2/11 Texas Tech 13 39 2/14 @Texas A&M 216 273 2/16 Oklahoma State 25 76 2/21 Texas 22 40 2/25 @Colorado 79 84 2/29 @Kansas 18 21

    3/3 Texas A&M 216 273 3/6 Baylor 224 144 3/11 BIG XII TOURNAMENT


    Joe Lunardi's forecast (Jan. 28)
    Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA bid: 45 percent
    Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 40 percent
    Chance of NIT bid: 50 percent
    Chance of missing post-season: 5 percent

    Charlie Creme | email

    Women's College Basketball
    Charlie Creme projects the women's NCAA Tournament bracket for ESPN.com.

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