With their backs firmly against the wall, Oklahoma produced the best defensive performance we’ve seen all season on Tuesday night against 22nd-ranked Texas Tech. The Sooners held the Red Raiders to a season low scoring total in a 65-51 upset win.
Having fallen to the bottom half of the NCAA Tournament bubble following a three-game losing streak, OU is raising eyebrows again with the second convincing win over a Top 25 opponent this month.
At 17-11 on the season (7-8 in conference) Oklahoma’s NCAA Tournament resume still holds merit for inclusion. You can also count Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard as an official endorser.
“Obviously, that’s an NCAA Tournament team,” Beard said about Oklahoma when discussing Tuesday night’s loss.
Oklahoma’s dominance over Texas Tech makes last Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State even more confusing and frustrating to fans. The team can’t afford to get tied up in that though because they need to focus on closing out the season with a strong push for 20 wins.
“Like Coach said, these last four games will determine if we make it or not essentially,” senior forward Kristian Doolittle said after dropping a game high 19 points. “So just more urgency.”
If the Sooners miss out on the NCAA Tournament they’re probably going to look at poor performances in Stillwater, Ames, and Manhattan as the culprits. In true Jekyll and Hyde fashion this team can look like they belong in the Top 25 one night, and then like the team that was picked to finish 8th in the conference on the next.
Kruger, who 100% out-coached Beard on Tuesday, knows that its up to the players to look more like Jekyll than Hyde and that’ll be the primary difference down the stretch.
“Guys understand if we’re good enough, we’ll win enough to get there,” Kruger said. “If we’re not, we’ll be watching.”
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