The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 28, 2013

Big 12 lets its play do its talking

NORMAN — Somebody’s column in The Norman Transcript referred to the Oklahoma women as Cinderella.

They weren’t crazy.

The Sooners are a No. 6 seed. Only Nos. 1 through 4 seeds are supposed to go to the Sweet 16.

There are four regionals.

Do the math.

Still, it may not be the best description. Perhaps nobody in their ninth Sweet 16 in 14 seasons can be called Cinderella.

Well-pedigreed programs can land upsets and advance beyond expectation, but they cannot be Cinderella.

Or, look at it this way.

OU isn’t Cinderella.

Kansas is.

That’s the thing I only finally understood after filing everything from St. John Arena late Monday night.

Not only had the Sooners bucked the odds to reach the regional semifinal round of the NCAA tournament, so too had the longer-shot Jayhawks.

Then, Tuesday, watching television and eating dinner, there was Oklahoma State, leading No. 2-seed Duke by nine points at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the second half.

The Blue Devils came on late and the Cowgirls fell apart the last 10 minutes, but there were almost three Big 12 programs — other than Baylor — dancing into the second week of the tournament.

Guess what?

The Big 12 really was the most underrated conference in the nation this season. The conference RPI methodology that placed the Big 12 atop the rest knew exactly what it was doing.

It may not be a lot of fun living life in a league that includes two pretty automatic losses to the Lady Bears and zero automatic wins.

It may make up for what happened in the conference this season: one team atop everybody’s poll and several other quality teams nowhere in the poll.

Yet, none of that means the best conference in the nation this season wasn’t the Big 12. And we have the NCAA tournament to make the case.

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