OU men's basketball: Three things to watch that could affect OU's NCAA Tournament odds

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AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Oklahoma's Brady Manek is guarded by West Virginia's Lamont West during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. West Virginia won 72-71.

Oklahoma’s 2018-19 season was eerily similar to its 2017-18 campaign.

It started hot in non-conference play, struggled against Big 12 teams and exited the conference tournament after one game.

The Sooners still made the NCAA Tournament last season, and they might do the same this year.

It’s not a lock, but here are a few things to know and watch with a few days before Selection Sunday.

1. OU’s conference record shouldn’t matter.

It might seem strange a team can have a sub-.500 record in conference games and still make the tournament, but conference affiliation doesn’t factor into the value of wins or losses. And luckily for OU, the Big 12 is as strong as ever and it benefitted from playing a non-conference schedule that was heavy with road and neutral-site games — which the NCAA likes.

2. West Virginia winning the Big 12 tournament might be bad.

Cheering against the Mountaineers shouldn’t be too hard for any OU fans after the Sooners’ 72-71 loss Wednesday. So, OU fans should pray the Mountaineers don’t win the entire tournament. West Virginia has zero chance at an at-large bid, but if it secures an automatic bid by winning a Big 12 title this weekend, the committee could very well take a spot away from OU or TCU.

3. OU could be bound for Dayton, Ohio.

If they aren’t left out completely, the Sooners’ worst-case scenario might be a “First Four” game. ESPN and CBS Sports currently don’t have the Sooners fighting for a Field of 64 spot in their latest "Bracketology" projections, but it’s tough to know how the committee will value OU’s profile and how other bubble teams’ conference tournament performance will affect the Sooners’ chances, which is a good excuse to watch as much college basketball over the next few days as possible.

Transcript Sports Writer