The Norman Transcript

March 12, 2013

Sooners get back to business after loss to TCU

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma went about its business Monday. The typical 90-minute practice went off without a hitch. The lingering effects from Saturday’s regular-season ending 70-67 loss to TCU were beyond the Sooners’ control.

“It was very disappointing and it was hard to anticipate given that we had shot the ball so well and played with really good energy. We didn’t do either on Saturday,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “TCU had really good energy and took the fight to us and we didn’t respond very well. Guys bounced back today. We’re anxious to have another couple days of practice.”

Those who project the NCAA Tournament field for a living still have the Sooners in the field of 68. ESPN had the Sooners as a No. 10 seed. CBS dropped them to a No. 11 seed. USA Today still has OU as a No.7 seed.

The NCAA tournament selection committee makes the ultimate decision when they convene in Indianapolis later this week to prepare the bracket for Sunday’s selection show.

The Sooners know their last game didn’t leave a very good impression. All they can do is turn their full attention to Thursday’s meeting with Iowa State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

As far as the NCAA tournament is concerned, OU knows any victories it gets in the conference tournament will greatly strengthen its case for the field of 68.

Players were trying to turn a blind eye to mock brackets for the time being.

“I haven’t looked at it. I’ll just let the chips fall where they may,” OU forward Romero Osby said. “We have to take care of business on Thursday. We can guarantee ourselves a spot in the (NCAA) tournament if we win this (the Big 12) tournament. If we win three games, we know we’re in the (NCAA) tournament. That’s the way we’re looking at it.”

Kruger is the same way. He has declined any opportunity to talk up his team’s NCAA tournament credentials, and did the same Monday.

“We’ll look at this one the same way we have the last month: we need one more. It’s the only healthy way to look at it,” he said. “We’d like to think we’ve played well enough to this point, but what we think doesn’t matter. We’d like to think about winning two or three up there (in Kansas City, Mo.)”

Avoiding the news: Osby, who was a first-team selection on the coaches’ All-Big 12 team Sunday said he was too nervous to look and see if he made the team. His wife, Shalonda, had to break the news to him.

“She looked at it and told me and started hugging me,” Osby said. “It’s a great accomplishment and I appreciate it. I thank God and my teammates and my coaches for helping me get there.”

Osby was a second-team selection on the AP All-Big 12 team Monday.

Focus regained: Osby didn’t think it took Monday’s practice for OU to gain its intensity back after the TCU loss.

“I think everyone was focused after the game to be honest with you,” he said. “We slipped there and they didn’t make it easy on us because they made a lot of shots. I’m glad everyone came out and worked hard in practice because we have to do that the rest of the week.”

Go figure: It wasn’t just that OU was 0-for-16 from 3-point range against TCU that was stunning. It has had bad shooting games before. About half those misses didn’t even catch the rim.

“I’ve never seen nothing like that before,” said OU guard Steven Pledger, who was 1 for 7 from the field and 0 for 4 from 3-point range.

The TCU game marked the first time since the 1996-97 season OU failed to make at least one 3-pointer. The Sooners had made 46 of their previous 100 3-pointers prior to the TCU game.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

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