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. Nearing the halfway point to the conference schedule, OU is 7-0 with four road wins. The Sooners will likely pad their record with two home games this week. There are even some rumblings about this team going 16-0 in what is shaping up as a sub-par Big 12, although something like 14-2 could be enough to gain one of the four No. 1 seeds. The Sooners are aware of what’s going on — involving them and around them, near and far with the nation’s other top teams. "When they come on the TV screen, we pay a lot of attention to it, to see what they’re doing, see how they’re doing,” said OU guard Tony Crocker. "Just to see where we are with them, compared to them.” And, hopefully, to see them fall. "We like to see everybody lose who we ain’t beat,” Crocker said. The big boys — the other big boys — keep going down. Later today, the polls will likely show Connecticut at No. 1, the Sooners at No. 2. Later tonight, UConn puts its perch position on the line at No. 7 Louisville. By taking care of business at home against Texas A&M and Colorado, the Sooners could be No. 1 by next week. "It’s exciting to be where we are right now, and it would be exciting to be No. 1,” said Blake Griffin. "At the same time, we already have a target on our back. That would only bring more of a target. "But it would be exciting.”
Texas A&M8 p.m. Wednesday (Big 12 Network) Already beat the Aggies in College Station.
Colorado12:30 p.m. Saturday (Big 12 Network) Buffs 1-5 in the Big 12, winless overall on the road.
at Baylor8 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