After picking up a pair of wins over Notre Dame and Wichita State this week, the 8-1 Oklahoma Sooners appeared to have a shot at cracking the AP Top 25 for the first time this season. However, OU barely missed the cut, receiving 82 total votes and coming in at No. 30 (but only three spots from the tie for 25th). The Sooners also missed out on a Coaches Poll debut, receiving 27 votes (No. 33).
There are certainly arguments to be made for the Sooners being more deserving than some of these ranked teams. AP No. 23 Furman, who has a win over Villanova but a strength of schedule ranked 281st by KenPom (OU’s is 27th), definitely comes to mind. Shenanigans are also called on the inclusion of AP No. 25 Syracuse (7-2), who has a nice win over Ohio State but has also lost to a mediocre UConn team.
On the other hand, OU is currently 17th in the NET Rankings — the NCAA Selection Committee’s new (and controversial) replacement for the RPI. Having said that, it’s always nice to see a number next to your school’s name during a broadcast, but I have a feeling we’ll see that soon enough.
This is one of the better defensive teams you’ll see in college basketball this season. Add in the spectacular play of Christian James (who was just named Big 12 Player of the Week) along with the leadership of these seniors and some quality depth, and you have yourself a team that is built to surpass expectations. The fact that they’ve been able to win these last two games without Jamuni McNeace also demonstrates the character of this group, but his rim protection and improved offense are coming back into the fold soon enough.
The Sooners continue non-conference play this Saturday at 8 p.m. when they face the USC Trojans at the BOK Center in Downtown Tulsa. If you live in T-Town and don’t typically have the opportunity to come down to Norman, I definitely encourage you to check out this team. These guys play their tails off and definitely deserve plenty of support.