Sooners' loss puts them in the waiting game

Iowa State came back to beat Oklahoma 73-66 in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals at the Sprint Center, a verdict that lifts the burden of the NCAA Tournament uncertainty off the Cyclones' shoulders and squarely onto the Sooners'.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 14, 2013

And coach Lon Kruger didn't help. His tactics backfired. With 7:42 left and OU up 60-48, Kruger gave Osby his first second-half rest. By the time Kruger rushed Osby back, the Cyclones had reeled off seven straight points. OU was out of offensive rhythm and never regained it; the Sooners went five straight possessions without scoring after Osby's departure, and OU didn't make a basket the last 8:10 of the game, during which it was outscored 25-6.

Yet with four timeouts in his pocket, Kruger didn't use one during Iowa State's spree. The rabid Iowa State fan base kept its team juiced, and momentum never left the Cyclones.

“You can always look back, say, liked to have made this shot or liked to have had a timeout here, liked to have run something differently,” Kruger said. “No question, that's always going through your mind.”

So now the Sooners wait, and their attitude was alarming. Both Osby and point guard Sam Grooms mentioned that at least OU was headed for some kind of post-season tournament. Hey, guys. The NIT is not an option. Not on any real basis. The Sooners haven't been to the NCAAs since 2009; it's time that drought ended.

“I think we did enough to be able to be in,” Grooms said.

I agree. I think the Sooners are in. But now they're on a two-game losing streak, thanks to that ridiculous loss at TCU. The Sooners have given the committee reason to pause.

“Obviously, a lot of it depends on upsets and other games,” Kruger said. “But I'd like to think this group's deserved an opportunity.”

But only for how they played most of the season. Not for the way they played against Iowa State.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

 


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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