The Oklahoma Sooners were clearly shorthanded in the matchup against Texas Longhorns big man Jericho Sims, and the tide clearly turned when center Kur Kuath was finally inserted into the game at the 12-minute mark. However, OU’s late-game execution was lacking once again, and it translated to a fourth consecutive loss. The 69-65 defeat knocks OU down to the No. 7 spot in the Big 12 standings.
Battled.#Sooners fight back but fall to Texas, 69-65. pic.twitter.com/q3NeqzKXYp— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) March 5, 2021
Why Kuath was inserted so late is still a bit of a mystery. It was abundantly clear that he was going to be a necessary presence with the 6’10 Sims coming to the LNC, but Kruger decided to go with Victor Iwuakor when Brady Manek proved not to be up to the task. Kruger simply framed it as Iwuakor getting the first shot, but it just doesn’t quite add up when considering that Kuath is the only Sooner cut out to match up with him defensively.
Lon Kruger didn’t exactly shed any light on why it took so long for Kur Kuath to enter the game— Josh Callaway (@JoshCallaway714) March 5, 2021
Just said he went with Iwuakor first off the bench and then used Kuath later and that he did “great” in his minutes
Didn’t get much more than that #Sooners
Kuath has been rumored to be in the doghouse for quite some time, and that was never more evident than in the second Bedlam game. The fifth-year senior played two minutes in spite of the fact that the Sooners so sorely needed a rim-protector. No matter the circumstances, what’s readily apparent is that the decision to not give Kuath his due minutes is costing the Sooners down the stretch.
When he did enter the game, Texas’ interior advantage was all but neutralized — at least from a scoring standpoint.
Kur Kuath enters the game and his presence is immediately felt. pic.twitter.com/GmWQQYl7vZ— OUHoops (@ouhoops) March 5, 2021
However, Texas simply executed better offensively down the stretch, and the result was a fourth consecutive loss for the Sooners. As far as OU’s NCAA Tournament seeding is concerned, the team has so many quality wins up to this point that there really isn’t anything that can knock them down too far (other than perhaps a loss to Iowa State in Kansas City). Following tonight’s game, OU fell one line in Joe Lunardi’s updated bracketology, now sitting as a No. 6 seed.
This stretch has been rough for the team and OU fans alike, but as flawed as this team is, I still feel like it can win a game or two in the Big Dance if the chips fall the right way.