In a season full of lackluster performances, the Oklahoma Sooners outdid themselves in a crushing Big 12 Tournament defeat at the hands of the 10th-place West Virginia Mountaineers. OU thought it had tied the game with a buzzer-beating three, but it was revealed that the foot of Christian James was on the line. The 72-71 loss likely won’t knock this team out of the NCAA Tournament, but it was still a major gut-punch.
James appeared to be behind the line before the pump fake, but it became a two-point attempt after he repositioned his foot. I feel bad for the guy, but if that’s not a perfect metaphor for his career, I’m not sure what its.
Oklahoma did receive a good offensive performance from Brady Manek, who finished with 22 points on 9-16 shooting. However, Manek and his teammates were outclassed in the paint. In total, Oklahoma was out-rebounded by a margin of 10 (46-36) and allowed the ‘Eers to grab 16 offensive boards on the night. Sure, that’s an area of strength for West Virginia, but being manhandled in that kind of fashion is simply inexcusable — particularly in crucial situations.
Kristian Doolittle finished with 18 points (6-14 FG, 6-7 FT) and nine rebounds, while James ended up with an 11-5-2 line. As a team, Oklahoma shot 45 percent (28-362) from the field and 33 percent (4-12) from deep. WVU was 38 percent and 30 percent from the field and from three, respectively, but their effort lifted them over an uninspired OU team.
With a win, ESPN’s BPI gave OU a 98 percent chance of making the Big Dance, but that moved down to a 56 percent chance with a loss. Will this team avoid the play-in games in Dayton? The answer likely ‘yes’, but I can’t say that this team deserves to avoid the “First Four” or even partake in March Madness.