After an up and down regular season, the Oklahoma men’s basketball team will try to close out the 2016-17 campaign on a high-note when the Sooners take on TCU in the first round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
The matchup is set to tip-off at 6 p.m. on Wednesday inside of the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Here’s everything you need to know:
Oklahoma closed out the regular season with a 73-68 win over TCU on Saturday, making Wednesday the second time the two teams have played each other in the last five games. Kameron McGusty led the way with a career-high tying 22 points as the Sooners managed to hold off the Horned Frogs on Senior Night.
The win marked OU’s second in the last three games, while it handed TCU its seventh consecutive loss. Despite starting the season with a 17-7 record, the Horned Frogs haven’t registered a win since narrowly edging Texas Tech at home back on Feb. 8.
Last chance for OU
Seeing this young Oklahoma team sits with an 11-19 record, it would take a Big 12 Championship in order for the Sooners to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. While nothing is impossible in college basketball, it surely won't be an easy task.
OU enters the tourney with +8000 odds to win it all, according to OddsShark, which is tied with Texas for the worst odds in the conference and is drastically behind TCU (+4000).
If the Sooners were to knock off the Horned Frogs, OU would advance to face KU in the quarterfinals before matching up with the winner of Iowa State and Oklahoma State in the semis. Oklahoma is a combined 0-6 this season against those three teams, but if the Sooners were able to pull off two major upsets, OU would likely face either West Virginia or Baylor in the championship.
Another opportunity for development
With the season coming to an end, it’s important that OU’s core of young players makes the most of the valuable experience they’ll be gaining in Kansas City. The Big 12 is one of the best basketball conferences in the country, and any opponent the Sooners face will likely present a tough test.
Even though this season didn’t turn out like most would’ve liked, there’s a lot to build on for the future. McGusty, Kristian Doolittle, Rashard Odomes, Jamuni McNeace, Khadeem Lattin, Christian James, Jordan Shepherd and Darrion Strong-Moore are all set to return next season, so it’ll be key for their growth to play in an environment like the Big 12 tourney.