Stephanie Kuzydym: Sooners not yet safely in the Big Dance
The Oklahoman's Stephanie Kuzydym took questions about the Sooners in today's Power Lunch Chat. Here's a look at today's Q&A.
The Oklahoman's Stephanie Kuzydym took questions from readers in today's OU Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's look at today's Q&A.
Is OU safely in the Big Dance?
No, they aren't. If they don't win a game in these next three, they could easily be out — especially if they lose to TCU at TCU. Iowa State is more on the edge because of their loss to Tech earlier in the season. Right now, Oklahoma's only 'bad loss' is the one to Texas — and if you really look at that with Kabongo back Texas is a MUCH improved team. But if you add ones to Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU in then you've got a resume that isn't as strong that you're handing to the tournament. That loss to Gonzaga doesn't look bad on the resume. And even the one to SFA isn't so bad because they've been a solid team this year. So they won't be safely in the Big Dance until these three remaining regular season games are over — and then really, it's all up to the committee.
What is the pulse of the OU basketball team after the collapse against Texas? Do you see a skid coming?
The team was back to normal post-practice yesterday. While they work hard in practice, they know how to smile and joke and keep a good team spirit after. They've recently been watching a little one-on-one where freshman Steve Noworyta takes on another guy. First it was M'Baye, yesterday it was Ryan Spangler. The rest of the team sits around and commentates and goes crazy when somebody does a spin move.
The team knows that they collapsed those last seven minutes. They also know they played 32 minutes of solid ball that led them to a 22-point lead. It's those first 32 that they are going to try and replicate and the last 7 that they are going to try and learn from. I could see them losing to Iowa State just because the Cyclones are so solid from beyond the arc and Oklahoma isn't the strongest at defending that, but I think they'll be OK besides that.
Will Hield be back for the Big XII tournament?
I don't believe that 4-to-6 weeks is going to hold true for Hield. He was already back to driving to the basket yesterday. Sure, there was nobody around him because he was practicing on the hoop at the opposite end from the team, but in 2.5 weeks — he's gone from surgery to basically being back to normal. I talked with him Tuesday and he said the next step is running, which OU athletics trainer Alex Brown seemed to some what allow him to do with running toward the hoop.
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