Oklahoma Reaches NCAA Tournament Over Much Better Teams Because Trae Young

Lynette Rowe
March 13, 2018

A loss at No. 8 Texas ended the regular season, then TCU beat OU in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.

With a 16-14 overall record, the Lady Sooners head to the NCAA Women's Tournament with the worst winning percentage for a team in the tournament since 1983, when Monmouth got in with a 14-14 record.

After bubble teams USC, Oklahoma State and Louisville were all left out of the tournament, a conspiracy theory was launched that the selection committee avoided those schools due to the controversy surrounding them.

Each had a different critique of Oklahoma, with Barkley noting the way the Sooners stumbled badly down the stretch and Vitale wondering how they could have been chosen over in-state rival Oklahoma State. The 16 seed in the Kansas City region, Nicholls State went 19-13 this year.

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In fairness, Oklahoma had a much higher RPI than Oklahoma State (49 vs. 88), which is an important factor for the selection committee, the Sooners ranked higher at the influential kenpom.com website and they had a tougher strength of schedule.

This is the 17th straight season the Sooners have made the NCAA Tournament. The teams also met in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The knock on Saint Mary's resume was a lack of signature victories over the course of the season, but the Gaels were ranked as high as No. 11 in the country at one point. Win one or two more in the conference, finish in the top half, and they'd unquestionably have gotten there.

If the Orange wins its game, it would face the victor of No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 16 Nicholls in a second-round game Monday in Starkville.

This is the sixth season in a row that the women's squad has reached the NCAA Tournament. Now bound to play in the NIT, Middle Tennessee will be missed in this year's March Madness.

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