WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE OKLAHOMA SOONERS?
For several weeks now, the college basketball world has seemed to consist of Gonzaga and Baylor at the top, and then everyone else. However, the Oklahoma Sooners made history on Saturday, knocking off then-#9 Alabama. That made Oklahoma the second team in the last 25 years to knock off three straight opponents ranked in the top ten and the first team in 47 years to beat four teams from the top ten in the same month.
Is Oklahoma ready to join college basketball’s elite?
That recent run is why Oklahoma leaped from #24 to #9 in the latest AP Top 25 men’s basketball rankings, surprising many pph sportsbook owners. That is their highest spot since they hit #4 in the 2017-18 season. Given that the team lost leading scorer and rebounder Kristian Doolittle and was predicted to finish sixth in the preseason Big 12 poll, the Sooners’ run has been even more impressive. They started conference play 2-3, with losses to Baylor and Kansas, but then they beat Kansas in the rematch and then beat Texas (then #5) and Alabama in their next two games. They had already beaten then-#17 West Virginia earlier in January. Against Alabama, they did not have starting guard Alondes Williams or Austin Reaves due to COVID-19 protocols.
Even so, Gonzaga and Baylor dominate the polls. Gonzaga got 61 of the 64 first-place votes after dismantling San Diego and Pepperdine last week. Baylor got the other three after they beat Kansas State and Auburn. The rest of the top five include Villanova, Michigan and Houston, respectively. The last time Houston was in the top five came back in 1983-84, when Phi Slamma Jamma made it all the way to #2 in the nation.
Other teams that made big moves in the AP Top 25 this week include Ohio State, who jumped from #13 to #7 after beating Penn State and routing Michigan State. Tennessee moved from #18 to #11 after beating Kansas by 19 points. Illinois jumped from #19 to #12 after knocking off then-#5 Iowa, which slid to #8. Florida made its debut in the Top 25, moving to #22 after beating then-#11 West Virginia on the road. Purdue also came into the Top 25 for the first time this season after beating then-#21 Minnesota.
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