The question for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State: So, you think you can dance?
COMMENTARY — Both limped into the Big Dance. But after missing it for a few years, the Cowboys and Sooners will be alive and kicking when the NCAA Tournament starts Thursday.
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For starters, the Sooners are the No. 10 seed in the South Region. They will face No. 7 San Diego State, a team that will be favored but that has been almost as up and down as OU has been. The Aztecs were picked to win the Mountain West during the preseason and were 16-5 at one point. But they finished the season 6-5, including being manhandled by New Mexico in the conference tournament.
Say this for the Aztecs: Their coached knows how to dance. Steve Fisher took Michigan to three NCAA title games, winning the 1989 championship.
Then again, the Sooners have a coach who also knows a step or two. Lon Kruger is the first coach to take five different programs to the dance.
But still, the Sooners finished the season like a team that's about to be tapped on the shoulder and asked to leave the dance floor. Blew a huge lead at Texas. Suffered an embarrassing loss at TCU. Floundered against Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament.
Momentum isn't exactly on their side.
“The opportunity to play, that's the most important thing,” Kruger said. “Just to be in the field and having an opportunity to play.”
He's right, of course. Anything can happen in this tournament, and this year, that's more the case than ever before.
Listen, neither of these teams is going to be confused with the Tony Allen and John Lucas Cowboys or the Blake Griffin or Hollis Price Sooners. That was golden era of hoops in our state, times when we used to have squads that regularly danced all the way to the Elite Eight and the Final Four.
But after a couple years of no Cowboys and no Sooners in the NCAA Tournament, this feels like the good days. It's grand fun having OSU and OU back in the show.
How far will they dance? How deep will they advance?