Oklahoma basketball: NCAA Selection Committee chairman explains Sooners' inclusion


This year, they're a 4-seed.

Watching No. 3 seed MI will be fascinating since they had the long layoff after the Big Ten Tournament victory. Wichita is a 2½-hour drive from their campus in Lawrence, and Omaha is three hours to the north. While only time will reveal all of the answers, fans will be put through one nail-biting game after another - and most wouldn't have it any other way.

Purdue guard Carsen Edwards walked into the locker room after the Boilermakers got their highest seed since 1994 and told Matt Painter, "Thanks, coach". They have also won a game in seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances dating back to 1985.

When the bracket was unveiled on Sunday, committee chair Bruce Rasmussen pointed at Oklahoma's quality wins early in the season as being enough to get the Sooners in the field. He ranks fourth in total blocks in the ACC and fifth in blocks per game, while he is 27th in the country in both categories.

Virginia has averaged 28 wins a season over the past five seasons. They finished eighth in the ACC and got bounced by Notre Dame in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Under Bennett's watch, Virginia has become a perennial powerhouse in college basketball again.

But, like Pearl said following that loss to the Crimson Tide in St. Louis, none of that takes "any of the shine off what this team accomplished", and none of that changes the fact that, for the first time in 15 years, Auburn is back in the Big Dance. "They can no longer say that the team in the SEC that hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament the longest is Auburn". The Tigers earned a No. 4 seed after playing all season without top post players Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley. "We know that you gotta always be prepared and expect everything when you play a team that you're more unfamiliar with". All the challenges that we've gone through. "I'm happy for our team to have this opportunity, and we obviously have two really good potential opponents to start preparing for". "That's why we play the games". The Grizzlies were within a single possession with under four minutes left, but they could not pull it off. Michigan, meanwhile, took care of Penn State on the road, 72-63, for an impressive win on February 21. The defending champion Tar Heels are one of the most experienced teams in the field as the open with No. 15 seed Lipscomb.

Oklahoma State went 19-14 and 8-10 in the tough Big 12. Had that shot missed, Louisville would have probably been in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn plays Charleston and Clemson goes against New Mexico State in the first round. They led the league in offensive rebounding.