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March Madness has gone from fun and games to serious business

Like many youngsters, a few Sooners players once tried to fill out the perfect NCAA Tournament bracket. Nowadays, they’re out to bust a few of those brackets.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 17, 2014

These Sooners now are in the middle of that plot. Instead of writing down names on the entire bracket, they will determine who moves along one particular line. The line with “Oklahoma” on it.

But those who followed the tournament years ago know the tendencies. One of the 12-seeds almost always upsets a 5-seed. The big upsets that make this tournament great is what makes the Sooners vulnerable in Spokane.

“We’ve been talking about it really this whole year,” said OU center Ryan Spangler. “If we play like we can, do everything possible, play hard, play defense, move the ball around, we’re going to be fine.”

Spangler is one of those kids who followed the tournament. He knows the history. That a 16 seed never has won but that a 15 occasionally has advanced. And on down from there, the upsets come more and more frequently.

“Yeah, your better teams should be seeded higher,” Spangler said, but “the way I look at it, if you’re in the tournament, you’re a good team, and you can beat anybody. They can say a 12 might not be as good as a five. But if they’re in the tournament, they’re good. We’re going to have to fight to get a win.”

Fight is a good word for it. Picking a bracket is fun competition. But the bracket no longer matters to the Sooners. Only the games. Just like the Bahamas before Buddy Hield stepped on the big stage.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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