The Oklahoma Sooners are best known for their powerhouse football program, but the Sooners entire athletic program has a history of strong teams and the men’s basketball program is no exception. The Sooners began playing basketball in 1908 and didn’t take long at all to establish themselves as a reputable program. In 1939, the Sooners played in the first ever Final Four, losing to the eventual champion Oregon Webfoots in the semifinal game. The Sooners made the Final Four once again in 1947, this time losing to the Holy Cross Crusaders by a score of 58-47 in the championship game.
After the 1947 season, the Sooners continued to have moderate success, but wouldn’t make the NCAA Tournament again until 1979. Oklahoma wouldn’t become a mainstay of the NCAA Tournament until the 1980’s when head coach Billy Tubbs led the Sooners to 9 appearances in 10 years from 1983-1992. This stretch included a Final Four appearance in 1988 where the Sooners lost to the Kansas Jayhawks in the championship game by a score of 83-79. When Kelvin Sampson replaced Billy Tubbs as head coach in 1994, the Sooners streak of NCAA Tournament relevancy continued with the Sooners making the tournament 10 out of 11 years from 1995-2005. This included yet another Final Four appearance in 2002 when Oklahoma lost to the Indiana Hoosiers in the semifinal game by a score of 73-64.
Oklahoma’s last great season came in 2009 when the team was led by sophomore Blake Griffin, the consensus player of the year and the #1 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Sooners only lost 5 games in the regular season and entered the NCAA Tournament as the #2 seed in the South Region. Oklahoma made a deep run all the way to the Elite Eight where they lost by a score of 72-60 to the North Carolina Tarheels, the eventual tournament champions.
Oklahoma Sooners Recent NCAA Tourament History
In 2013, Oklahoma made their first NCAA Tournament since 2009, superstar Blake Griffin’s last season with the team. This also marked Oklahoma’s first NCAA Tournament berth under head coach Lon Kruger. The Sooners received an at-large bid as the #10 seed in the South Region where they would lose their first game against the #7 seed Sand Diego State Aztecs by a score of 70-55. The Sooners had an even stronger regular season the following year and received an at-large bid to the 2014 NCAA Tournament as the #5 seed in the West Region. The Sooners were upset in this first game once again, this time to the #12 seed North Dakota State Bison by a score 80-75 in OT.