February 14, 2007

Sooners hurt NCAA chances with ISU loss

The Oklahoma men's basketball team saw their four-game Big 12 Conference winning streak come to a grinding halt in Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday night. The Sooners struggled holding onto the basketball early and couldn't overcome a 15-point halftime deficit as they fell 58-51.

While Oklahoma had turnover problems, they also had star problems as Nate Carter scored only two points on the night. Carter was bottled up the entire night and never found a rhythm.

Oklahoma was able to battle back in the second half thanks to 20 points from Longar Longar. Longar, who didn't score a single point until after halftime, became the main focus of the Sooner offense down the stretch pulling the Sooners to within four points down the stretch.

Michael Neal had a chance to pull the Sooners within one with just under a minute to play, but his shot was long and Iowa State put the game away from the free-throw line.

The Sooners now fall to 6-5 in the Big 12 Conference and still sit alone in fifth place.

Here are five questions in need of an answer following the Sooners loss to Iowa State.

1. What does the loss do to Oklahoma's NCAA Tournament hopes?

It definitely hurts Oklahoma's chances and puts them in a much tougher position to earn an at-large berth into the NCAAs. The one other negative from last night was a Texas Tech win in College Station against Texas A&M.

The Sooners and Red Raiders could end up battling for that final spot from the Big 12 Conference.

The lone positive development for Oklahoma was the loss suffered by Kansas State while visiting Nebraska last night. The Sooners could end up playing the Wildcats in Manhattan for one at-large spot at the end of the season if the Wildcats continue to play inconsistently.

They beat Texas in Austin, but they've lost back-to-back games to Kansas and Nebraska since.

Texas A&M, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma State are still sure-fire NCAA tournament teams, but OU, Tech and K-State could all be battling for that final spot from the Big 12.

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