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2019 NCAA tournament preview: Oklahoma

Oklahoma Sooners: 19-13, 7-11 in the Big 12 Conference

Head coach: Lon Kruger (8th season)

Players to watch: Christian James (14.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG); Brady Manek (12.0 PPG, 46.4 3PT%); Kristian Doolittle (11.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG)

Season recap: Despite losing their lone nonconference game against a ranked opponent, the Sooners played a relatively strong nonconference schedule with just five games against mid-majors. Oklahoma spurted out to an 11-1 start, but struggled mightily in 2019.

The Sooners were seemingly unable to get the big win in a Big 12 conference loaded with ranked opponents. Oklahoma finished a mere 2-5 against top 25 teams with the pair of wins coming against TCU and Kansas. The Sooners were close to another marquee win against then No. 17 Iowa State, but were unable to seal the deal in a 75-74 defeat in Stillwater. 

After closing out Big 12 play with a relatively strong 4-2 record in its final six games, Oklahoma bowed out of the conference tourney in the opening round. The Sooners fell to West Virginia 72-71 Wednesday and will need to do a better job closing out games in order to advance in the NCAA tournament.

How they make a run: Oklahoma uses its relative size to control the interior against an undersized opponent and with high-efficiency scoring advances out of the opening round.

How they falter: The Sooners are mediocre and probably shouldn't have gotten a spot in the tournament in the first place. Oklahoma's inability to shoot and lack of athleticism plagues them in the first round as they are knocked out.


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