The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 7, 2009

Sooners want to run table

Oklahoma crossed the midway point of the Big 12 schedule with Wednesday night’s victory over Texas A&M.;

After eight games and eight wins, the opportunity is there to become the first team in the conference’s relatively short history to run the table. The only way it can happen is figuring out ways to turn bad games into victories.

“We’ve shown some character and found ways to win,” OU coach Jeff Capel said.

Year in and year out, that’s usually the difference between the teams at the top of the conference and the rest.

The second-ranked Sooners (22-1, 8-0 Big 12) haven’t run roughshod throughout the season. They’ve won by 20 points or more just six times, while 11 more wins were by 10 points or less.

A barometer of where OU really is could come against Colorado (9-12, 1-6) at 12:30 p.m. today at Lloyd Noble Center. By any measure, it’s a game OU should win. The Sooners are atop the conference along with Kansas, and the Buffaloes are at the bottom, along with Texas Tech and Iowa State.

But February is when most teams are looking for their second wind. The initial burst that arrived when conference play began has worn off. They usually come from one of two things: a big win or a big loss.

“When you lose, that’s when you really see anything that’s going wrong,” guard Tony Crocker said.

That’s when flaws become glaring and it’s easier to put a finger on a problem. But losses are the furthest thing from OU’s mind. A conference title, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament could both evaporate with one loss.

The pursuit of Big 12 perfection is the goal.

“Even when you win that game that you probably should have lost, you still look at it the same way,” Crocker said. “You have to kept building to get better.”

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