Sooners Can Benefit From Conference's Day One Falters
It's been a tough day for schools that got No. 3 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Iowa State and Baylor were both upset on Thursday, and the Oklahoma Sooners, also a No. 3 seed, begin their March Madness journey on Friday. 24 hours before they play, OU is the only one of the three Big 12 No. 3 seeds remaining. How will the Sooners react against 14th-seeded Albany?
"I hope they knew nothing was going to be easy,” OU coach Lon Kruger said in Columbus on Thursday. “If they didn't, I guess this would reinforce that they've got to be ready and battling every possession and respect the opponents. I know our guys definitely respect Albany and how good they've been and their culture of winning three championships in a row, so it shouldn't be a problem."
For the next 24 hours, the Sooners will hear a lot about the Big 12 failures. They'll have a chance to make their own statement at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Oklahoma State Sees Similar Foe In Oregon
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are also playing tomorrow night, as the Pokes take on Oregon in Omaha. Ask which Big 12 team Oregon resembles the most and you're likely to hear Iowa State or OU. Neither one of those comparisons is a picnic for the Cowboys, as OSU went 0-for-5 against those two.
It would make sense that the Ducks play like the Sooners, with a lot of individual creativity on offense. Oregon coach Dana Altman and OU's Lon Kruger are close friends, and it's possible Altman may have been able to pry a little scouting report on OSU out of the Sooners head man.
"We talked Sunday night,” Altman said. “He called to congratulate us, you know, on getting into the tournament. Um, he's got his own game to worry about; he's not too worried about mine. So, you know, there's not much because we press, we do different things."
The Cowboys may have more players with NCAA Tournament experience, but Oregon's Joseph Young, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, has played his best when the lights are brightest. Young scored 48 points in two NCAA Tournament games last season.