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March 14, 2013

Sooners can’t rest on their laurels

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  The bracket for the NCAA Tournament will be released Sunday. Oklahoma seems to be in solid position to earn an at-large bid. It’s 20-10 overall record, 11-7 finish in the Big 12 Conference and entering the Big 12 tournament at No. 33 in the Ratings Percentage Index all bode extremely well.

Nonetheless, Sooner coach Lon Kruger doesn’t want his team thinking it has a complete resume as it prepares to face Iowa State at 11:30 a.m. today at Sprint Center.

“The only healthy way (to look at is) is you’ve got to win one more,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “It doesn’t matter if we happen to get by Thursday, we’ll feel like we need to win one more on Friday. That’s the only way to approach it. We’ve approached it that way for the last month. Most teams around the country do that. I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘OK, now we can lose.’”

The thing that bodes well for OU is that it’s highly unlikely to acquire a “bad loss” in the Big 12 tournament. Iowa State moved up to No. 47 in the RPI this week. The teams ahead of the Sooners in the conference seeding — Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State — are all in the RPI’s top 23.

Cyclones slumping in Kansas City: History could be on the Sooners’ side today. Iowa State has not won a Big 12 tournament game since a 77-57 victory over Baylor in 2005. It needs to beat the Sooners today to snap a seven-game tournament losing streak.

The Cyclones are also 0-4 in games played at Sprint Center, falling to Texas A&M (60-47) in 2008, Texas (82-75) in 2010, Colorado (77-75) in 2011 and Texas (71-65) last season.

More from Hield: Freshman guard Buddy Hield showed in the TCU game last Saturday that he’s fully healed from the broken foot that caused him to miss five of OU’s last seven regular-season games. Hield had eight offensive rebounds against the Horned Frogs and played 25 minutes.

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