Jenni Carlson: Oklahoma State to the Sweet 16, OU out after San Diego State

Oklahoman Modified: March 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013
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The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson took questions from readers in today’s Power Lunch Chat. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here’s a look at today’s Q&A:

ON COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

How do you see OU and OSU faring? I hope I am wrong, but I would not be surprised to see them both lose their first game.

I think OSU has a good chance to go to the Sweet 16. I know Oregon is a tough first-round matchup, but the Ducks don't have a ton of wins on their resume that wow you. If OSU plays like it is capable, it should win. Then, I like the Cowboys to beat St. Louis in the second round.

As for OU, I'm a lot less sold on the Sooners. Their late-season ups and downs don't bode well in my eyes. After practice yesterday, many of them talked about the fact that they felt like it was just little things that needed to improve. It looks like more than little things to me. San Diego State has been up and down, too, but I just feel like OU is going to lose.

How does your bracket look?

I ended up having Louisville and Miami in the final game, and I picked Louisville to win. But I have to say, there were a lot of games that felt like tossups to me.

This could be one of those years that you'd have just as much luck winning your office pool by picking teams with your favorite colors as actually picking them by who you think will win. College basketball feels as up in the air as I can remember.

Who do you have as your Final Four?

My Final Four, as I recall, is Louisville, Miami, Kansas and Ohio State. Ohio State is the one I'm least sold on, by the way.

It seems all decent teams in the field have good guard play, so what teams have good big men that might make a difference?

Truly good big men are difficult to find in college basketball because they all go to the NBA as soon as they can.

Gonzaga has some bigs who could be problematic for teams. I also think Kansas with Jeff Withey could have an advantage because of what he brings. Plus, I just think Kansas having such a senior-laden team will have an advantage because of that. It's not often you see a starting lineup of a top-level team with as many seniors as the Jayhawks have.

How long do you anticipate Lon Kruger remaining the coach at OU? Is OU a destination job for him?

I'm not sure it was a job he coveted. Berry Tramel wrote a column over the weekend that said Kruger turned down OU twice before Joe Castiglione and Co. convinced him that they were serious about hiring him and about doing right by the basketball program.

That said, I could absolutely see Kruger retiring at OU. He's been in the business for a long time, and now that he's back near his Kansas roots, I would have a hard time seeing him pick up and go somewhere else in four or five years. I don't know how long he stays at OU, but I could definitely see him being there five, six or seven more years.

Why is a 15-20 team in the NCAA Tournament? Are they going to get destroyed?

Liberty is in with a 15-20 record because it won its conference tournament and its conference's automatic bid. It's as simple as that. If Liberty didn't win that tournament, it wouldn't be in the NCAA Tournament.

Frankly, if I had any say in low-level conferences, I'd give their automatic bids to the regular-season champion, not the conference tournament champion. I've always thought it was odd that a team that wins a 14- or 16-game regular-season crown, then has one down day in the conference tournament loses its chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.

I know it makes those conference tournaments so much more exciting, but don't those conference want to send their BEST team to the NCAA Tournament? I've never understood why conferences like Liberty's do that.

The best guard out there is Shane Larkin, I have the Miami in the Final Four — your thoughts?

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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