- By Dean Straka Diehards
Oklahoma men’s basketball experienced a stunning decline after rising to as high as No. 4 in the AP Top 25 poll in January.
The Sooners, despite boasting the national leader in points and assists in the form of freshman point guard Trae Young, finished the season a disappointing 8-10 in Big 12 play after once looking a team with talent and chemistry to reach the Final Four.
Oklahoma has now lost 8 of its last 10 games played, including a 71-60 defeat to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday.
The question now is whether or not the Sooners even deserve to receive an at-large bid for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. That answer is no for one prominent sports personality based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Dallas Morning News writer and ESPN panelist Tim Cowlishaw said during an episode of ESPN’s Around the Horn on Thursday that the Sooners have no business participating in March Madness this spring after the team’s late-season collapse.
“[Oklahoma] has been a terrible team in 2018, and it’s been that simple. They got off to a hot start. In 2018 they are 0-10 in all of their road and neutral games. They played badly last night — got beat easily by Oklahoma State. I do not think they should get in [the NCAA Tournament].”
Oklahoma’s most recent win away from Norman, Okla. was a 90-89 win at TCU on Dec. 30, 2017. The Sooners went to overtime in their second meeting with Oklahoma State on Jan. 20, but lost the game, 83-81.
Per ESPN Stats and Info, Oklahoma would be the first team with a non-automatic bid to lose eight of their final 10 games and still make the NCAA Tournament in its current format should the Sooners receive an invitation on Sunday.
But for all the numbers that have gone against Oklahoma of late, the Sooners still own a top 50 RPI and own one of the most electrifying playmakers in all of college basketball in the form of Young. Those two factors are enough for Oklahoma to make the tournament in the eyes of ESPN panelist Woody Paige.
Regardless of the final verdict, it’s set to be an uneasy week for Oklahoma men’s basketball leading up to Selection Sunday.
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