“They're on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens in this opening round,” Fraschilla said. “I wouldn't say safely in. They'll have to sweat it a little with a loss. If they were to get out knocked out early, I would say they are reasonably, safely in the field based on everything they've done since November.
“To win 11 games in a conference as competitive as the Big 12, to play one of the conferences best strength of schedules, to have some quality wins on their schedule, I wouldn't say they're playing with house money but they've put themselves in great shape heading into the Big 12 (Championship) on their entire body of work.”
OU's had its share of struggles, though. Dating back to the start of February, Oklahoma is 1-4 in road games — with the lone victory coming against Texas Tech.
“Like everybody else in the conference,” Fraschilla said of the puzzling, late season losses such as Baylor defeating Kansas.
So what have the late-season losses and the poor spurts of play done to Oklahoma? Nothing that says, “Stay out of the NCAA Tournament” just yet. If anything, Palm says this is what an average NCAA Tournament team does. Wins at home, loses on the road — but builds a strong enough resume to make it in.
“But beating Iowa State is the best way in from here,” he said.
OU forward Romero Osby said he doesn't think anything has changed with his team not winning tight games late in the season.
“I think the competition has picked up a lot,” he said. “We've got to be prepared every night and go out there and play as hard as you can and not take any team lightly and respect the opponent.