Any coach will tell you that you don’t win four games in a row in a tournament. You win a match four times in a row.
You have to get the first one. It seems obvious, but that’s absolutely the mindset of Oklahoma and the head coach. Porter Moser are taking with them to Kansas City this week for the Big 12 tournament.
The Sooners, seeded No. 10 at 15-16 overall, will face rival Bedlam Oklahoma State in the first round at around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The game will follow West Virginia-Texas Tech, which starts at 6.
The seventh-seeded Cowboys have swept OU this year, beating the Sooners by double digits each time. OSU was the only team to do this against OU in the conference.
It’s not like last year for OU, when the Sooners were squarely on the bubble. You don’t have to play with scenarios because there is only one. Win and keep winning or hopes of making the NCAA tournament are over.
It doesn’t matter that OU has six wins in Quad 1 or has beaten four double-digit ranked opponents when OU is unranked. There’s simply no scenario that puts the OU on the court except going 4 for 4 at Kansas City.
If the seeds play out, that would mean OSU, Texas, Kansas State and Kansas. OU went 1-7 against those four teams, beating KSU at home.
But the Sooners lost to KU by four runs. Lost by one point at home to UT and two points in overtime at Austin.
When OU is at its best, it’s not just a belief. The Sooners know they can hang out with the big boys, as they did limiting the No. 22 TCU over the weekend.
“Momentum. Keep building on that, visualizing when we’re at our best,” Moser said. “We talked about it before the game, visualizing when we’re at our best. played against the best in the country. That’s all we wanted to visualize.
OSU outplayed OU at the position in the first two meetings. A key, obviously, will be for Tanner Groves to have no early foul issues.
A major difference for the Sooners in March compared to the first two meetings is the development of freshmen Milos Uzan And Otega Oweh.
Uzan, after appearing to hit the freshman wall in early February, is playing at a high level again. Oweh has never looked better than he has in recent weeks.
If you’re looking for a reason to believe the Sooners can get first in the books, how they grew up is something to circle around.
Get that first and see where things go from there. That’s all you can do.
“You have to win that first,” Moser said. “Then you go back to the hotel, you know you’re doing your recovery and everything. But it’s winning and moving forward. This is the best of the league country’s conference tournament. And you just have to go one at a time. I have to go with this first and go all out on everything. Your state of mind. Your preparation. Your belief. On game 1.”
* Three Sooners were honored by the Big 12 conference, but there was a noticeable snub in the eyes of many regarding the All-Big 12 defensive team and Jalen Hill.
Hill and leader Grant Sherfield were both named honorable mention for the Big 12, and Uzan was on the All-Big 12 Freshman team. But Hill’s absence confused many, including Moser, when the defensive team was released on Sunday.
“Very disappointed he didn’t make the defensive team,” Moser said. “I mean, if you watch him in and out of every game, he knocks out the best players in the team. How he works. I’m just confused. He keeps 1-4. He keeps five. He did it all as it does. It covers errors.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time. I once had the first defensive team in the country. I had defensive players from the previous year. I put Jalen up there with any defensive player I’ve ever coached. How he plays team defense, how he plays on ball defense, I think Jalen Hill is an elite, elite defensive player. For him, he knows how we feel.
*Moser and everyone associated with the team is just focused on the Big 12 tournament and what they can do in Kansas City.
It’s understandable. But the OU board on Tuesday approved a $9.5 million renovation plan at the Lloyd Noble Center, improving the locker rooms more than anything else.
Moser appreciates the commitment, but he feels that all funding should be directed to a new location for the team.
“I think everyone knows the engagement should be about having a new venue,” Moser said. “A new site for men’s basketball. You look at some of the sights and atmospheres of the teams in this league, and it becomes very difficult to play.
“All I hear is that everything is going in this direction. I like this. I like that the focus is on location. I’m not ready to say where, which one or anything like that. Let’s just go in that direction.
#SoonerScoop #Win #Home