OU men inch closer to No. 1

By John Helsley Published: February 2, 2009
Football season is history, Sooner fans (no, recruitniks, signing day doesn’t move the chains).

And still, one fond refrain remains very much in play around Norman.

"We’re No. 1.”

Consider the wild week that was in college basketball:

Down goes Duke.

Down goes Pitt.

Down goes Wake Forest.

Up goes Oklahoma?

Get ready Sooner fans, your team could be headed for No. 1 — in the polls, eventually, and in terms of seeding for the NCAA Tournament, more importantly.

No wonder Billy Tubbs is big on these Sooners; they’re his kind of team.

Fun to watch.

Built around a monster in the middle.

On pace for 30-plus wins.

Can defend.

And a team looking more and more like a major Final Four contender come tournament time.

"I could see them winning 35,” said Tubbs, whose ’87-88 team went 35-4 and finished as the national runner-up. "I don’t think they can lose as many as we did.

"At the end of the day, they won’t have more than three losses, max. And I’m just giving them some room to screw up.”

Getting to 35 would require an extended NCAA run. But from the No. 1 line on the bracket, such runs are more than possible. Since 1985, almost 71 percent of No. 1 seeds have made it to at least the Elite Eight.

For the Sooners, a No. 1 seed is well within their grasp.

Currently, OU stands No. 3 in RPI at CollegeRPI.com, thanks to the best record in college hoops built against a solid schedule. OU is 13-1 against the RPI Top 100 – 8-0 against the top 50.

The ACC and Big East remain the basketball power conferences, yet the top teams from those leagues keep knocking each other down, while the Sooners stroll through the Big 12.


Up Next
Texas A&M
8 p.m. Wednesday (Big 12 Network)

Already beat the Aggies in College Station.

12:30 p.m. Saturday (Big 12 Network)

Buffs 1-5 in the Big 12, winless overall on the road.

at Baylor
8 p.m. Feb. 11 (ESPN2, Cox 28)

Once looked like a dangerous road trip. Still?

Sowing a No. 1 seed
Some relevant numbers for Oklahoma in its quest for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament (national rank in parenthesis):

→Record: 21-1; 7-0 Big 12

→Rankings: AP No. 4, ESPN/USA Today No. 5

→Win-Loss percentage: .955 (1)

→Opponents winning percentage: .615 (15)

→Strength of schedule: .590 (15)

Source: CollegeRPI.com

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