The Sooners were the last team left off the last AP poll, but after their impressive 76-69 overtime win at Northwestern last week it’s time to put Oklahoma in the Top 25.
Hey Sooner fans, I know it’s been an exciting year for the football team with a fourth-straight Big 12 title, a Heisman Trophy winner, a top 10 recruiting class and of course a showdown coming up with Alabama in the College football Playoff, but in case you didn’t know it, the basketball team is pretty darn good, too.
Oklahoma is currently 11-1, good for the second-best non-conference record in the Big 12 behind only Kansas. Those wins haven’t come over cupcakes, either. OU has wins over tournament regulars Notre Dame, Wichita State, Chrieghton, USC and Dayton.
Christian James has emerged from behind Trey Young’s shadow to become a dominant force in both scoring and rebounding for the Sooners. He has four-straight double-doubles and is averaging 18.5 points per game.
Yes, Oklahoma basketball fans have been burned before. The Sooners started with an identical record last season, made waves through the first part of Big 12 play and flirted with the No. 1 ranking in the nation before falling off a cliff and limping across the finish line, but as my colleague Chip Rouse put it earlier this year, this team looks like it is built different.
The Sooners are playing nasty defense, competing for every rebound and loose ball and moving off the ball much more like a trademark Lon Kruger squad than last year when it seemed several players fell into the trap of standing around and watching Young rather than running the offense.
The Sooners are holding opponents to just 37 percent from the field and have three players averaging in double figures with James, Miles Reynolds and Brady Manek.
Yes, this is all relative, but it might be time to start paying attention and supporting this emerging team. Their next game, a Jan. 2 trip to Lawrence to take on the mighty Jayhawks, would be a perfect time to start.