Just three games remain on Oklahoma’s regular season schedule, the Sooners are firmly entrenched among the nation’s elite. Even if OU can’t make up their postponed games against Texas and Baylor, they should finish no lower than a 3-seed barring a late season collapse.
Currently, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Sooners slated as a 3-seed in Region 4, projected to face Winthrop in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Per Lunardi’s projections, OU could see the Alabama Crimson Tide for a second time in the Sweet 16, and would likely have to deal with either 4-seed Texas or 1-seed Ohio State to punch their ticket into the Final Four.
Should the Sooners win out in the regular season and have a strong showing in the Big 12 Tournament, they could continue to climb. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports already has OU projected as a 2-seed who will open up against Eastern Washington. In Palm’s tournament field, Oklahoma would have to potentially carve their way through 3-seed Iowa, before facing the other side of the region sporting 4-seed Texas and 1-seed Gonzaga.
The weakest facet of OU’s resume is their non-conference strength of schedule, ranking No. 141 in the country. The win over No. 8-ranked Alabama carries a lot of weight, but Oklahoma’s next best non-conference foe was Xavier. The Musketeers embarrassed the Sooners 99-77 in December, but that was before OU’s switch to their four guard starting lineup and the emergence of defensive force Elijah Harkless. Palm has Xavier slated as an 8-seed, and Lunardi projects the Musketeers as a 10-seed and one of the last four byes handed out in the tournament field.
Oklahoma gains a lot of respect for how they’ve preformed in Big 12 Conference play this season. Picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference, OU has posted a 9-4 record in conference play so far, good enough to for second place behind unbeaten Baylor.
While incredibly unlikely the Sooners could push their stock all the way to a 1-seed, sweeping the Oklahoma State Cowboys and picking up a against the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, as well as a deep run in the conference tournament would give Oklahoma a convincing case to land a 2-seed heading into the big dance.
For OU’s money, they continue to just take things one game at a time.
The Sooners road to march continues on Tuesday night against the Wildcats at 8 p.m.