For the first time in four years, Oklahoma and March Madness are back in the same sentence. The Sooners are projected by various bracketologists to be a middle seed, like an eight or a nine. They are in a spot where little they do can make them rise, unless seeded teams above them suffer terrible losses. They could fall if they stumble through their final four games. If they lose on the road to TCU and Texas and don't protect their home court against West Virginia and Iowa State, the Sooners could easily be a bubble team — or even out of the tournament. The latest projections:
* ESPN's Joe Lunardi: Midwest Region, No. 9 seed against No. 8 North Carolina State in Dayton, Ohio.
* CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm: Midwest Region, No. 8 seed against No. 9 North Carolina State in Dayton, Ohio.
*SI.com: Midwest Region, No. 9 seed against No. 8 Wichita State in Dayton, Ohio.
* Yahoo! Sports: No. 9 seed (no bracketology).
* Sporting News: No. 9 seed (no bracketology).
“We want to get to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a while and get as far as we can. We want to start a legacy for years to come in coach (Lon) Kruger's era. It'd be great to have Coach Kruger take his fifth team to the tournament. We want to win and make sure Oklahoma continues to win.” – Oklahoma senior forward Romero Osby
*Nov. 25, West Virginia: This win was the first glimpse college basketball got that maybe Oklahoma wouldn't suffer as badly as it did last year.
*Dec. 18, Stephen F. Austin: This one-point loss was the low-point of OU's nonconference season. It taught the Sooners to not look too far ahead — which came in handy during conference play.
*Dec. 29-Jan. 16, five straight victories: The Sooners' start to the conference season gave them a confidence boost. They started off league play 3-0, beating West Virginia again, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, before losing to Kansas State.
*Feb. 2-Feb. 11, the first four of February: February tends to be a rough month for the Sooners. It looked like it would be another difficult month for OU to get through, starting off with a loss to Kansas State at home and then a 19-point blowout to Iowa State. The Sooners pieced together their confidence and upset then-No. 5 Kansas in their next outing, followed by a win over TCU.
Oklahoma is glowing as a rebuilt team under second-year coach Lon Kruger. The Sooners, who have had 13, 14 and 15 wins, respectively, in their last three seasons could break the 20-win plateau. The Sooners stand at 18 victories now. They've gone from cautious to aggressive, from scared to confident and from pushovers to dominators all because they've put their trust in Kruger.