As you may or may not remember, a couple weeks back we attempted to assess this Oklahoma men's basketball team's chances making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. We did so for two primary reasons, (1) this OU team had far exceeded almost everyone's preseason expectations up to that point and (2) they were approaching what would easily be their most difficult stretch of games on their schedule.
It was a seven game stretch that wasn't necessarily going to make or break their tournament chances, but it was going to go a long way towards showing us just how far this team has come in their second year under Lon Kruger. We predicted the Sooners would go 2-5 over this seven game stretch, so with now five of the seven played we're checking back in to see where things stand.
Jan. 19 - @ Kansas State | Prediction: Loss Result: Loss
As you can see, on paper this one didn't really hurt their chances given we predicted a loss and unfortunately we were right.
Jan. 21 - vs. Texas | Prediction: Win Result: Win
The Sooners were able to protect their home court even if it was a little more difficult than it should have been.
Jan. 26 - @ Kansas | Prediction: Loss Result: Loss
The loss certainly wasn't surprising, the fact they were able to keep it fairly close, in Lawrence, the entire game kind of was.
Jan. 30 - @ Baylor | Prediction: Loss Result: Win
This one was big with OU essentially stealing one they were "supposed to win", but Baylor will have to hold up things on their end to make this a truly quality win. And with Scott Drew at the helm, that is far from a certainty.
Feb. 2 - vs. Kansas State | Prediction: Win Result: Loss
This one hurt. As nice as it was to steal in on the road versus Baylor, they immediately gave it right back losing at home to KSU.
Feb. 4 - @ Iowa State | Prediction: Loss
Feb. 9 - vs. Kansas | Prediction: Loss
As down as things seem to feel following Saturday's loss, Oklahoma is actually right where we had them projected. They have their two wins and if these last two games of the seven game stretch go as we predicted they'll match our 2-5 predicted finish. That said, if they were able to find a way to steal another one on the road Monday night in Ames it could really help their tournament chances.
Win or loss Monday night though, the problem with this Oklahoma team is their tournament resume. They continue to have an impressive RPI ranking, No. 22 as of Sunday, but it's a resume lacking any true quality wins. And perhaps more importantly, looking at the schedule going forward there doesn't appear to be much of a chance to change that. Oklahoma's remaining games are with Iowa State (twice), Kansas, TCU (twice), Okie State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas, and West Virginia. KU is the only team among those who is currently ranked and while there are several who could enter the Top 25 if they continue to play well, it doesn't seem likely that any would provide a real signature win for this Oklahoma team.
All of which means the margin for error with this OU team is a small one. They have to win all the games they're "supposed" to win and they really cannot afford to lose another home game (outside of Kansas, of course). Even then, this team could still be a bubble team based simply on their resume.