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Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball

Oklahoma Sooners
2015–16 Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team
Oklahoma Sooners athletic logo
University University of Oklahoma
First season 1908
All-time record 1,564-1,007 (.609)
Conference Big 12
Location Norman, OK
Head coach Lon Kruger (5th year)
Arena Lloyd Noble Center
(Capacity: 12,000)
Nickname Sooners

Oklahoma Crimson and Oklahoma Cream[1]

Home jersey
Team colours
Away jersey
Team colours
NCAA Tournament runner-up
1947, 1988
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1939, 1947, 1988, 2002
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1939, 1943, 1947, 1985, 1988, 2002, 2003, 2009
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2015
NCAA Tournament appearances
1939, 1943, 1947, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015
Conference tournament champions
1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 2001, 2002, 2003
Conference regular season champions
1928, 1929, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1947, 1949, 1979, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 2005

The Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team represents the University of Oklahoma in men's NCAA Division I basketball. The Sooners play in the Big 12 Conference.


  • History 1
    • 1908–1980 1.1
    • 1981–1994 (the Billy Tubbs era) 1.2
    • 1995–2006 (the Kelvin Sampson era) 1.3
    • 2006–2011 (the Jeff Capel era) 1.4
    • 2011–present (the Lon Kruger era) 1.5
  • Records 2
  • Record vs. Big 12 opponents 3
  • Postseason 4
    • NCAA tournament results 4.1
    • NIT results 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6



The Sooners enjoyed moderate success on the court during this era, posting only 16 losing records in their first 72 seasons. They were coached by 9 different coaches during this period, beginning with Bennie Owen (who also coached the football team), and ending with Dave Bliss in 1980. The Sooners participated in the very first Final Four in 1939, and again in 1947, eventually losing 47-58 in the championship game to Holy Cross.

1981–1994 (the Billy Tubbs era)

The program gained national prominence under Billy Tubbs when he took over the program in 1981. Star players Wayman Tisdale, Mookie Blaylock, and Stacey King helped the Sooners to enjoy several deep runs in the NCAA Tournament. In 1988, the Sooners reached the NCAA title game in Kansas City, where they fell just four points shy of their first national title to the 11-loss Kansas Jayhawks, a team which they had already beaten twice in regular season play.

Tubbs resigned on April 10, 1994, indicating that "he did not feel appreciated enough working at a football school" (he has since reconciled with the administration and now enjoys a healthy relationship with the school in his retirement). Tubbs' base salary at Oklahoma in his final season was $107,000 annually. Tubbs, 59 years old at the time, left to take over the struggling Texas Christian University basketball program, signing a 5-year contract worth between $200,000 and $400,000 per season.

Tubbs' record at OU was 333-132 (0.716) overall, 126-70 (0.643) conference, with 10 NCAA Tournament Appearances, one Final Four appearance, and one National Title Game appearance. In the Big 8, Tubbs had 2 Conference Tournament titles and 5 Conference Regular Season titles.

Tubbs averaged 24 wins per season (24-9) and 9 conference wins per season (9-5).

1995–2006 (the Kelvin Sampson era)

Kelvin Sampson became the 11th head coach at the University of Oklahoma on April 25, 1994. Sampson was named national coach of the year in 1995 (his first year at OU) by the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association and Basketball Weekly after guiding the Sooners to 23–9 overall and 15–0 home marks. It was the second-best overall record posted by a first-year coach in Big 8 history. Sampson possesses the highest winning percentage in Oklahoma history (.719). He guided OU to nine consecutive 20-win seasons. He averaged 24.4 wins over those nine campaigns. He directed the Sooners to postseason tournament berths in each of his 12 seasons (11 NCAA Tournaments), with a Sweet 16 showing in 1999, a Final Four appearance in 2002 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2003. His teams also played in the Big 12 Tournament title game on five occasions during the 10 seasons he coached in the Big 12. In 2001, 2002, and 2003 the Sooners won that tournament. Sampson finished with a Big 12 Tournament record of 17-7. Standouts Eduardo Nájera and Hollis Price helped the Sooners maintain a streak of 25 straight post season appearances, the longest in the nation. Sampson left OU in 2006 to take a head job at Indiana.

Sampson's record at OU was 279-109 (0.719) overall, 128-60 (0.681) conference, with 10 NCAA Tournament Appearances, and one Final Four appearance. In the Big 12, Sampson had 3 Conference Tournament Titles and 1 Conference Regular Season Title. During his final season at OU, Sampson's salary was approximately $900,000 annually, not including bonuses. Sampson left OU in 2006 to become the head basketball coach at the Indiana University, signing a 7-year, $10,500,000 contract, at $1,500,000 per season.

Under Sampson's watch, Oklahoma was placed under a three-year investigation by the NCAA for recruiting violations. At the end of the their investigation, the NCAA issued a report citing more than 550 illegal calls made by Sampson and his staff to 17 different recruits. The NCAA barred Sampson from recruiting off campus and making phone calls for one year, ending May 24, 2007.

Sampson averaged 23 wins per season (23-9) and 11 conference wins per season (11-5).

2006–2011 (the Jeff Capel era)

Jeff Capel, the former head coach of Oklahoma.

On April 11, 2006, Jeff Capel was named the 12th head basketball coach at Oklahoma, succeeding Kelvin Sampson. Though the Sooner Nation as a whole greeted Capel's hiring with optimism, one notable downside of the coaching change emerged—Sampson's departure caused three of the players who had signed with OU (once considered a top 5 recruiting class) to rethink each's decision to attend OU. Scottie Reynolds went on to Villanova, and Damion James to Texas. Capel was originally signed to a 4-year, $3,000,000 contract, at $750,000 annually.

In his first year, after going a respectable 8–4 in non-conference games, with losses to Memphis, Purdue, Villanova, and Alabama, the Sooners started a promising 6–3 in conference play, before losing their final 7 conference games. After winning only one game in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, losing to eventual conference tournament champion Kansas, this caused the Sooners to miss any form of postseason play, which snapped the nation's longest streak of 25 consecutive years in the postseason, starting with Billy Tubbs' second year in 1982 and ending with Kelvin Sampson's final year in 2006.

In his second year, after signing McDonald's All-American Forward Blake Griffin, the Sooners showed vast signs of improvement and finished 21–10 during the regular season (9–7 in Big 12 play) earning them a #4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, where they won one game before losing to Texas in the semi-finals. They received a #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they defeated St. Joseph's in the first round before losing to #3 seed Louisville in the second round, finishing the season at 23-12, an improvement of 7 wins over the previous season. After this successful second season, Capel's name began to surface among many head coaching vacancies. In an effort to keep his young and rising star, OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione and the OU Board of Regents extended Capel's contract through the year 2014, and increased his salary to $1,050,000 per year.

Player of the Year Candidate Blake Griffin announced he would be returning for his sophomore season, forgoing a possible lottery-pick status in the NBA draft. Coupled with the signing of another McDonald's All-American guard in Willie Warren, the 2008-2009 season looked to be promising.

The team experienced one of the best starts in school history at 25-1, until Blake Griffin was sidelined with a concussion during the first half of the OU-Texas game on 2/21/09. The Sooners went on to lose consecutive games for the first time all season, losing to Texas by 5 in Austin and Kansas by 9 in Norman. Without their star player, the Sooners fell short. Griffin returned to the lineup on 2/28/09 and the Sooners returned to their winning ways defeating Texas Tech by 15 in Lubbock on 2/28/09, before losing on the road to Missouri, who was undefeated at home, and finishing the regular season by sweeping in-state rival Oklahoma State, who had won 7 of their previous 8 games. After a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament, the #2 seeded Sooners lost to the #7 seeded Cowboys by 1 point during the final seconds of the game.

Capel's Sooners were granted a #2 seed for the Syracuse, the Sooner guards went 0-15 from beyond the arc during the first 35 minutes of their Elite 8 game against North Carolina, before finally finishing 2-19 in the game. This ultimately led to their demise by the Tar Heels on March 29, losing 60-72. Unanimous All-American Forward and Player of the Year Blake Griffin finished the tournament with 114 points and 60 rebounds, becoming the first player to accomplish such a feat in over 40 years. Griffin, who gave up his final two years of eligibility to enter the NBA draft, and was the #1 pick. The Sooners finished Capel's third season at 30-6, the school's first 30+ win season since 2002, and 5th overall. Ironically, this was again an improvement of 7 wins over the previous season.

Even with the loss of starters Austin Johnson, Taylor Griffin, and Blake Griffin, the Sooners have two incoming McDonald's All-American recruits in point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin and center Keith "Tiny" Gallon. Paired with returning McDonald's All-American guard Willie Warren, guard Tony Crocker, and former reserve forward Ryan Wright, the Sooners will have a chance to post yet another successful season and poised to perhaps make another deep run into the NCAA Tournament. This would be the first time in the school's history where they would have 3 McDonald's All-Americans on the roster at the same time.

Despite high hopes and a preseason ranking of #16, Jeff Capel and his Sooners proved to be one of the most overrated teams in the 2009-2010 season. After a mediocre 13-9 start, their season slipped away as they lost their last nine games of the season, including a first-round loss to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament, leaving them with a 13-18 record to cap off the season. Those wins would be vacated in November 2011 after various violations that included improper benefits and ineligible players.[2]

As of February 23, 2011, Capel's record at OU was 94-65 (0.588) overall, 36-41 (0.468) conference, with 2 NCAA Tournament Appearances, and one Elite Eight appearance. In the Big 12, Capel did not win a Conference Tournament Title or Regular Season Title. As of January 1, 2010, Capel's salary at Oklahoma was $1,500,000 annually, not including bonuses. In addition, Capel was promised a $1,000,000 "stay bonus" if he remained at OU through the 2014 season.

Capel finished 2010-11 with a 14-18 record and a loss to the Texas Longhorns in the 2011 Big 12 Tournament. On March 14, 2011, he was fired as head coach of the Sooners.

In November 2011, the NCAA punished Oklahoma with three years probation, a $15,000 fine, reductions in recruiting, and the loss of a scholarship.

2011–present (the Lon Kruger era)

Lon Kruger was hired by OU to replace Jeff Capel as the head coach prior to the 2011-12 season. Kruger had previously coached at Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and Nevada-Las Vegas. In his first season at helm, the Sooners finished 15-16, improving on their 2010-11 finish. The 2012-13 season yielded a surprising 20-12 (11-7 in Big 12 play) finish and resulted in the program's first NCAA tournament bid since Blake Griffin led the school to the Elite 8 in 2009. They finished 4th in the Big 12 but were defeated in the first round of the NCAA tournament by San Diego State. The 2013-14 season continued this trend of improvement, as the Sooners finished 23-10 overall and 12-6 in the Big 12, good for 2nd place in the conference behind Kansas. However, they were upset in the NCAA tournament by North Dakota State. 4 of the 5 starters from the team will return for the 2014-15 season, in which the Sooners are expected to build on their successes and continue to be a top tier Big 12 team. Guard Buddy Hield was Big 12 player of the year as OU made it to the Big 12 tournament semifinals before Iowa State bounced them out. Oklahoma received a #3 seed in the East regiom, made it to the Sweet Sixteen but couldn't move onto the regional final (Elite Eight) as Michigan State held on 62-58.


Career Points:
Player Seasons Points
1 Wayman Tisdale 1983-85 2,661
2 Tim McCalister 1984-87 2,275
3 Jeff Webster 1991-94 2,264
4 Darryl Kennedy 1984-87 2,097
5 Stacey King 1986-89 2,008
6 Ryan Minor 1993-96 1,946
7 Hollis Price 2000-03 1,821
8 Alvan Adams 1973-75 1,707
9 Eduardo Nájera 1997-00 1,646
10 Don Sidle 1966-68 1,548

Record vs. Big 12 opponents

Overall Record at Norman at Opponent's
at Neutral Site Last 5 Meetings Last 10 Meetings Current Streak Since Beginning
of Big 12
Baylor OU, 36-8 OU, 18-3 OU, 16-4 OU, 2-1 BU, 3-2 OU, 7-3 W 3 OU, 27-3
Iowa State OU, 111-80 OU, 61-22 ISU, 46-37 OU, 13-12 OU, 2-3 OU, 5-5 L 2 OU, 13-8
Kansas KU, 136-65 KU, 46-40 KU, 70-16 KU, 21-8 KU, 4-1 KU, 6-4 W 1 KU, 15-5
Kansas State OU, 102-91 OU, 58-25 KSU, 55-35 KSU, 11-9 KSU, 4-1 OU, 6-4 L 2 OU, 10-6
Oklahoma State OU, 127-94 OU, 78-26 OSU, 60-42 OSU, 7-6 OSU, 4-1 OU, 6-4 L 1 tied, 16-16
Texas OU, 37-31 OU, 23-10 UT, 17-16 OU, 8-4 UT, 4-1 UT, 8-2 L 1 tied, 18-18
Texas Tech OU, 30-18 OU, 18-6 TTU, 11-10 OU, 2-1 OU, 3-2 OU, 7-3 W 1 OU, 21-10
*Through games of Wednesday, February 23, 2011.[3]

From 1996 (the inception of the Big 12) to 2010 OU has recorded 1 First place finish in league play, 5 Second place finishes, 3 Third place finishes, 1 Fourth place finish, 1 Fifth place finish, 2 Seventh place finishes, and 1 Ninth place finish.


NCAA tournament results

The Sooners have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 29 times. Their combined record is 37–29.

Year Seed Round Opponent Results
1939 Elite Eight
Final Four
Utah State
W 50–39
L 37–55
1943 Elite Eight
Regional 3rd Place Game
L 50–53
W 48–43
1947 Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship
Oregon State
Holy Cross
W 56–54
W 55–54
L 47–58
1979 #5 Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#4 Texas
#1 Indiana state
W 90–76
L 72–93
1983 #7 First Round
Second Round
#10 UAB
#2 Indiana
W 71–63
L 49–63
1984 #2 Second Round #10 Dayton L 85–89
1985 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#16 North Carolina A&T
#9 Illinois State
#5 Louisiana Tech
#2 Memphis
W 96–83
W 75–69
W 86–84OT
L 61–63
1986 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 Northeastern
#12 DePaul
W 80–74
L 69–74
1987 #6 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#11 Tulsa
#3 Pittsburgh
#2 Iowa
W 74–69
W 96–93
L 91–93OT
1988 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship
#16 UT Chattanooga
#8 Auburn
#5 Louisville
#6 Villanova
#1 Arizona
#6 Kansas
W 94–66
W 107–87
W 108–98
W 78–59
W 86–79
L 79–83
1989 #1 First Round
Second Round
#16 East Tennessee State
#9 Louisiana Tech
#5 Virginia
W 72–71
W 124–81
L 80–86
1990 #1 First Round
Second Round
#16 Towson
#8 North Carolina
W 77–68
L 77–79
1992 #4 First Round #13 Southwest Louisiana L 83–87
1995 #4 First Round #13 Manhattan L 67–77
1996 #10 First Round #7 Temple L 43–61
1997 #11 First Round #6 Stanford L 67–80
1998 #10 First Round #7 Indiana L 87–94OT
1999 #13 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#4 Arizona
#5 Charlotte
#1 Michigan State
W 61–60
W 85–72
L 46–54
2000 #3 First Round
Second Round
#14 Winthrop
#6 Purdue
W 74–50
L 62–66
2001 #4 First Round #13 Indiana State L 68–70OT
2002 #2 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
#15 UIC
#7 Xavier
#3 Arizona
#12 Missouri
#5 Indiana
W 71–63
W 78–65
W 88–67
W 81–75
L 64–73
2003 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#16 South Carolina State
#8 California
#12 Butler
#3 Syracuse
W 71–54
W 74–65
W 65–54
L 47–63
2005 #3 First Round
Second Round
#14 Niagara
#6 Utah
W 84–67
L 58–67
2006 #6 First Round #11 Milwaukee L 74–82
2008 #6 First Round
Second Round
#11 Saint Joseph's
#3 Louisville
W 72–64
L 48–78
2009 #2 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#15 Morgan State
#10 Michigan
#3 Syracuse
#1 North Carolina
W 82–54
W 73–63
W 84–71
L 60–72
2013 #10 Second Round #7 San Diego State L 55–70
2014 #5 Second Round #12 North Dakota State L 75–80OT
2015 #3 Second Round
Third Round
Sweet Sixteen
#14 Albany
#11 Dayton
#7 Michigan State
W 69–60
W 72–66
L 58–62

NIT results

The Sooners have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) seven times. Their combined record is 10–7.

Year Round Opponent Result
1970 First Round
W 74–73
L 94–97
1971 First Round Hawaiʻi L 86–87
1982 First Round
Second Round
Oral Roberts
UC Irvine
W 81–73
W 80–77
W 91–82
L 68–84
1991 First Round
Second Round
W 111–86
W 89–81
W 83–74
W 88–78
L 72–78
1993 First Round
Second Round
Michigan State
W 88–86
L 72–86
1994 First Round Vanderbilt L 67–77
2004 First Round
Second Round
W 70–61
L 52–63

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ NCAA finds major violations in Sooners basketball
  3. ^
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