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SPORTS: University of Oklahoma

Sooners Peaking At The Right Time

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

As we come down the stretch of the college basketball season, teams across the country are trying to play their best basketball of the season as they head toward conference and NCAA tournaments. It appears the Oklahoma Sooners are hitting their stride.

Oklahoma is already a lock to make the NCAA tournament and is just playing for seeding at this point, both for the NCAA tournament and the Big 12 tournament. The Sooners have had a very impressive season, but there's no doubt postseason success would make it even better. The way the Oklahoma has been playing the past two games gives reason to believe that success could be coming.

Monday night, the Sooners fell on the road to No. 5 Kansas, 83-75. But it was not a walk in the park for the Jayhawks, who clinched a share of their 10th straight Big 12 regular season title with the win. No, the Sooners made KU work hard to the final buzzer.

It's not often the KU crowd at Allen Fieldhouse has to rise as one to encourage their team onward with just nine minutes remaining in the game. Yet, that's exactly what the Sooners made the Kansas crowd do on Monday night. OU lost the lead for good soon after that, but it was able to leave Lawrence with their heads held high.

Oklahoma's impressive performance was made more impressive by the fact it came just two days after OU dismantled Kansas State in Norman. The play of the Sooners takes things to another level.

OU wasn't fazed by the historic environment of The Phog. They matched KU in turnovers (11) and were nearly identical in field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. The biggest discrepancy came at the free throw line, where Kansas had a 26-15 edge.

The Sooners didn't lose because they played poorly; they didn't lose because they turned the ball over too many times or because they chucked up a bunch of hurried and terrible shots. They lost because Kansas is a really good team and the Sooners missed shots and had turnovers at inopportune times.

You couldn't ask for the Sooners to do more than they did on Monday night, and it has to be an encouraging sign for Kruger's crew going into the last three games of the year. The Sooners play Texas on Saturday in Norman, looking for a key season sweep as the two teams battle for second place in the conference. OU defeated the Longhorns in Austin to begin Big 12 play, and remain the only Big 12 team to win there this season.

OU then has a pair of games where they'd like to wash a bit of bad taste from their mouths. OU faces West Virginia next Wednesday, whom the Sooners lost to at the beginning of February after a nightmare trip thanks to weather delays and flight cancellations. OU closes the year at TCU, sight of last season's stunning loss.

The Sooners are peaking at the exact right time, and if they play the rest of the season the way they did against the Sunflower State foes, they could very well win out, grab the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament and be poised for postseason success.

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