On the doorstep of claiming the program’s first No. 1 ranking in nearly 20 years, some Sooners are trying to keep cool about the possibility. Yet for some, like senior Taylor Griffin, who can appreciate the climb, there’s no containing just how cool it would be. "I think a lot of people hate that No. 1 spot, that No. 2 spot, whatever,” Griffin said. "They feel like it puts more pressure on you. That may be true, but we’re a good team. "So enjoy the moment. This is something that not many college basketball players get to experience, let alone many programs.” Oklahoma hasn’t been No. 1 since holding down the top spot in the final two regular-season polls in the 1989-90 season. Only two Sooner squads in history — that team and the 1988-89 group — can even claim a top ranking. At 25-1 and ranked No. 2, these Sooners are situated in prime position to move up now that top-ranked Connecticut was beaten by Pittsburgh on Monday night. "I’d love to be No. 1,” said OU freshman Willie Warren. Of course, getting to No. 1 comes with a catch. OU must first beat Texas — on the road, with an 8 p.m. tip set at the Erwin Center, where the Longhorns have won three straight in the series. Still, the Sooners ended a six-game losing streak to Texas earlier this season. And this team doesn’t resemble the OU squads that struggled to keep up athletically with the Longhorns in recent seasons. So if the Sooners do win tonight, and do rise to No. 1, excuse Griffin for taking a moment to soak it all in. "To me, I see no problem in thinking about it,” Griffin said. "Enjoy it. It’s something that is special. It’s a privilege. "Why not enjoy it? Why not relish it? As long as you know how to handle it and keep working and stay hungry, there’s nothing wrong with that.” Along with the emotional rewards, there are other benefits attached to being No. 1. A top seed in the NCAA Tournament is the primary prize. But there’s also a status that goes with being the nation’s top team, with constant references on ESPN, in newspapers and magazines as well as on Web sites. The Sooners were tuned in Monday night. And not just to see UConn go down. They watched, too, as Texas absorbed a 15-point beating at Texas A&M. The Longhorns, considered a Big 12 and national contender to start the season, are now just 6-5 in the conference and unranked at 17-8 overall. Not that the Sooners are feeling at all sorry for a team they felt disrespected them in three meetings last year. They made a statement with their 78-63 win over the Horns in Norman and hope to make a No. 1-worthy statement tonight. "I can’t speak for them, but I feel like we’ve got their attention and we’re going to give them our full attention on Saturday,” Griffin said.
No. 2 Oklahoma At Texas→When: 8 tonight →Where: Erwin Center, Austin, Texas. →Radio: KOKC 1520 AM →TV: ESPN (Cox 29) Three things to know: →ESPN’s national broadcast will feature analyst Dick Vitale, who will be getting his first in-person look at this year’s Sooners. →Texas was held to a season-low 33.8 field goal percentage and 5-of-23 shooting from 3-point range in the first meeting with OU. →The Longhorns carry home winning streaks of nine straight against Top 25 teams and five straight against top five foes, although none of either this season. Projected starters
|Texas (17-8, 6-5)|
|Oklahoma (25-1, 11-0)|
|Year||No. 1 in early March||Champion|