OU Sooners Look To Future

Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 7:33 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ It's been a long time since Oklahoma has turned in its basketball gear before the start of March Madness, and coach Jeff Capel plans to make sure it doesn't happen again soon.

For the first time since 1981 Oklahoma isn't participating in the NCAA tournament or the National Invitation Tournament.

Capel held out hope that a 16-and-15 record might be enough for an NIT bid, but wasn't necessarily surprised that it wasn't.

OU lost three of its top players from last year's 20-and-9 squad, then lost three-fifths of a heralded recruiting class when coach Kelvin Sampson left to take the Indiana coaching job.

Capel -- who came to OU after four seasons at Virginia Commonwealth -- inherited a squad with limited offensive options but a decent defense.

The Sooners allowed 59.6 points per game -- their fewest since the 1977-78 season.

Capel's decision to insert senior Nate Carter into the Sooners' lineup after Longar Longar had a two-game suspension turned out to be good one.

Carter averaged 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game by the season's end.