OU basketball: Every Big 12 victory enhances OU's tournament chances

The Big 12 is one of the strongest basketball leagues in the country. A win over any conference team, including struggling Oklahoma State, will help OU make a second consecutive NCAA Tournament.
by Ryan Aber Published: February 16, 2014

NORMAN — Oklahoma men's basketball coach Lon Kruger isn't quick to assign more importance to one win over another.

“We know every game in the Big 12's going to be really tough for us,” Kruger said after Saturday's 77-74 Bedlam win at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

He might've said that Saturday, but it could've come after any of the Sooners' Big 12 games this season, and many times Kruger has said similar things.

Kruger hasn't said many things like this, though:

“It's a huge game, and to get it in the right column makes a big difference,” he said after the win at Oklahoma State. “Every time you can add one at this point of the season is huge, and to add a road win at this time of year is even bigger.”

The win over Oklahoma State was big for quite a few reasons.

* Because it's Bedlam and any win over Oklahoma State is huge for OU.

* Because the Sooners were coming off a disappointing home loss to Texas Tech that included a first half filled with bad shooting and worse ball security.

* Because it gave the Sooners four road wins in conference play.

* And finally, because of the upcoming schedule.

The next three games will be particularly tough.

After getting this week off, the Sooners start an eight-day stretch that includes a home game against a Kansas State team that knocked off OU at home last month; a Big Monday game in Phog Allen Fieldhouse against No. 7-ranked Kansas; and a home game against No. 19 Texas, which has been much improved since the Sooners won in Austin on Jan. 4.

“It was a big bounce back, absolutely. Exactly right, no question,” Kruger also said following Saturday's win.

But he quickly went back to talking about the toughness of the Big 12, the league that still leads the RPI and where only TCU can be considered anything close to a breather.

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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