OU's Lon Kruger named to Coach of the Year Watch List

Picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big 12, Lon Kruger has guided his Sooners to five wins over AP Top-15 opponents, and has Oklahoma primed for another NCAA Tournament run
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Lon Kruger’s coaching efforts this season have not gone unnoticed.

Kruger has been named to the 2021 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Award watchlist, joining 14 other coaches around the country.

After once again being picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big 12 Conference, Kruger has guided the Sooners to a 13-5 record, posting an 8-4 mark in conference play, currently good enough for third in the Big 12.

Oklahoma’s five wins over top 15-ranked teams, tied with Ohio State for the most in the country, has landed the Sooners in the top-10 twice this season, as the Sooners currently sit at No. 9.

The latest NCAA tournament projections have the Sooners at a 3-seed, with Jerry Palm of CBS Sports listing OU as a 2-seed as of Friday morning.

Of the other coaches named to the watch list, Kruger has faced Scott Drew (Baylor), Shaka Smart (Texas), Nate Oats (Alabama) and Bob Huggins (West Virginia). The Sooners are 4-1 in those matchups, no other coach has more than two victories over their colleagues.

The Sooners will have a chance to keep their momentum moving in the right direction when they head to Ames, IA on Saturday to face the Iowa State Cyclones. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2, with tip time slated for 5 p.m.