Several weeks ago, a panel sat down and dished out bids to 68 teams based upon criteria set forth by the selection committee. Now, we are down to four as the competition scales in difficulty each outing. The Oklahoma Sooners are set to play the Villanova Wildcats for a spot in the National Championship Game. Collecting four wins during the NCAA Tournament is no small feat in a win or go home format let alone five or even six!
Running through the West Regional and difficult opponents such as a stout VCU Rams squad and an athletic Oregon Ducks roster, Buddy Hield and the rest of the Sooners cut down the nets in Anaheim. Now they look to secure another net cutting ceremony alongside another trophy. While OU is making the relatively short journey to Houston, the six and a half hour drive does not paint a full picture of the journey to the Final Four.
Since the expansion of the NCAA Tournament to 64 teams in 1985, only two Oklahoma rosters have won a region. Let's take a look at some of the past performances that earned the right to be included in the last four standing.
Led by All-Americans Harvey Grant and Stacey King, the Sooners made a run in the Big Dance while refusing to let a team within 10 points of themselves. Cruising into the Final Four, Oklahoma defeated Louisville and Villanova before claiming the title of Southeast Regional Champions. Of course, OU would go on to win their first National Semifinal over Arizona since the expansion setting up a battle Big 8 Conference rival, the Kansas Jayhawks for the National Championship.
After a drought of fourteen years, something that seems to be a theme, and the conception of the Big XII Conference, Oklahoma would make another run into the Final Four. This time, a man by the name of Hollis Price would lead the charge.
Regarded as one of the best players to come out of the University of Oklahoma since Wayman Tisdale, Price was unable to duplicate the same result of the 1988 NCAA Tournament. Now, here we are, fourteen years removed from the previous Final Four. How will Buddy Hield and the rest of the crew fare?