Happy NCAA Tournament Eve, friends and fans! Well, technically it’s already underway, as the ‘First Four’ is now halfway sorted out, but on Thursday the real fireworks will finally begin.
The Oklahoma Sooners won’t play until Friday, and for Christian James, Jamuni McNeace and Rashard Odomes, it could be for the final time after four years of ups and downs at OU. Needless to say, it should be quite a memorable finish for them, one way or another.
One last dance.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) March 20, 2019
After playing in the 2016 Final Four and 2018 NCAA Tournament, @The_underrated5, @R_Odomes & @JayMuni25 want to make the most of their last run in #MarchMadness.
That Final Four run with Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler in 2016 seems like such a distant memory now, but the trio of seniors that have led this year’s group were just starting to rev up their Sooner careers back then. Now they have a chance to rectify a lot of the missed opportunities and shortcomings along the way. Additionally, this provides an opportunity for grad transfers Aaron Calixte and Miles Reynolds to grab a slice of March Madness glory before their brief OU careers conclude. Realistically, it’s not expected that this team will go terribly far, but any advancement at all would show some fight. That’s really all that’s left for this team to leave behind. If they can do that, I’ll be content.
Now onto today’s Hot Links! Kliff Kingsbury came to Norman to meet with Kyler Murray, Oklahoma handled New Mexico in Albuquerque (and will try to do it again this afternoon), Mr. Thunder is having his jersey retired tonight and more!
- If you want to make this year’s March Madness even more fun, you should definitely fill out a bracket and enter Crimson & Cream Machine’s Tournament Challenge. The winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card, and bragging rights for days (this kind of honor really lasts forever). It’s free to enter, and you have nothing to lose yet so much to gain!
- After appearing to roll his ankle (and possibly aggregate something) against West Virginia, senior center Jamuni McNeace will likely give it a go on Friday.
Oklahoma's Jamuni McNeace (ankle) "will probably play" in Friday's NCAA Tournament game against Ole Miss, per Lon Kruger.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 20, 2019
- On Tuesday, Kyler Murray reportedly met with a couple prominent people from the Arizona Cardinals’ organization on Oklahoma’s campus. GM Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who were not present for OU’s Pro Day last week, continue to show serious interest in the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner. For me, I’d honestly be shocked if K1 doesn’t go No. 1 overall, especially with this latest happening.
Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray is meeting on the Oklahoma campus with Cardinals GM Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury, according to a league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 19, 2019
- Oklahoma took care of business in New Mexico, routing the Lobos 8-1 on Tuesday. Here are highlights of the Sooners doing their thing. Game 2 begins at 1 p.m. CT today.
- No. 2 Oklahoma (25-2) is back in Norman to welcome North Texas (16-9) to Marita Hynes Park. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. CT.
- Eric Bailey of the Tulsa World wrote about Alex Brown, the Oklahoma Basketball athletic trainer who is retiring after 32 years with the program. His final journey to the tourney will no doubt be a special one for him.
- In case you missed it, I wrote up a quick rundown of Ole Miss, Oklahoma’s first round opponent in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Before you’re consumed by all the mayhem of March Madness this weekend, you can read up on the Rebels’ season and the road they took to reach this clash with the Sooners.
- If you’re familiar with National Lampoon’s classic Animal House, you’ll appreciate this fine art. It’s quite clever, and the hidden details sprinkled throughout the illustration only make this even more impressive. Baker Mayfield is holding a mini flag, Kyler Murray is holding a baseball bat, Jalen Hurts is climbing the QB1 ladder and a hundred more things. If the Spring Game on April 13 is anything like this image, get ready. Credit to Cole Smith (OU Football graphic design) for this masterpiece.
- Let’s check in on former OU QB Chris Robison:
BREAKING: FAU QB Chris Robison did not practice today and will not practice this spring because of an "internal matter." Robison started 11 of 12 games last year and is not expected to practice this spring. Wow. More coming. @CUSAbbs @F5_CUSA @RedditCFB @pbpsports— Jake Elman (@JakeElman) March 20, 2019
Around the Sports World
- Nick Collison aka ‘Mr. Thunder’ is having his No. 4 jersey retired tonight when the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Toronto Raptors. He may not have been a stat stuffer in his playing days, but he was the ultimate culture builder, and that proved to be more valuable than anything else he could have done during his time in OKC.
- Chris Paul is out here doing a fine job being a model pro. Just look at this boy’s reaction to meeting his favorite player. Priceless.
- Former Ohio State QB Tate Martell has been granted immediate eligibility to play this season for the Miami Hurricanes. It’s been a long and dramatic saga up to this point, but now there is a legitimate player behind center in Coral Gables.
- Bill Belichick was at Alabama’s Pro Day, and he caught up with his old friend Nick Saban to (presumably) talk ball. It’s pretty cool to see, in all honesty, and definitely a meeting of some of the greatest minds to ever coach the sport.
- Actress Sophie Turner, mostly known for her role as Sansa Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, was at a recent New York Rangers game and made an appearance on the jumbotron. Her subsequent dab and wine-chug make me like her as a person more, but for me the jury is still out on Sansa. You’ll have to forgive me though, I’m only on season three. Apparently she becomes less annoying over time or something. I’ll see about that.
Stick to Sports!
- The official trailer for season three of Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ is here, and it looks like all the charm and wonder from the first two installments is still intact. The new episodes will be available on the streaming service this Independence Day.
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