Wednesday May 15: quick hitters

NORMAN, Okla. — A lot is taking place in Sooner land right now, and Sooners Illustrated updates you on the latest big happenings around campus.

1. OU is set to play Texas A&M in the inaugural Big 12/SEC Challenge—The two conferences inked up a deal where their respective champions will play in the Sugar Bowl in football. Now, the two have signed a deal where each school in the Big 12 will meet one in the SEC for a basketball challenge. The Sooners draw their former Big 12 foe Texas A&M in the event, which will take place Dec. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

2. The softball team prepares to host the Norman Regional this weekend—They've rolled through their regular season with a nation-best 46-4 record en route to earning the overall No. 1 seed. This weekend the time comes to defend that ranking and fight back towards Oklahoma City, where they were ousted in the national title a year ago. OU takes on Marist at 7:30 p.m. CT Friday, with Fordham and Arkansas also in the regional.

3. A trio of Sooners took home Big 12 awards in softball—Also on the diamond over at Marita Hynes Field, OU has swept the conference awards. Patty Gasso was named Coach of the Year for the second straight year, and Keilani Ricketts and Shelby Pendley earned Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year respectively. Five players earned All-Big 12 First Team, including the two mentioned, plus outfielders Brianna Turang and Destinee Martinez and first baseman Lauren Chamberlain.

4. The baseball team suffered a massive RPI drop-off with its Tuesday night setback—Dallas Baptist knocked off the Sooners for the second time this season and sixth in a row, and it was an extremely damaging one. After sitting in the upper 40s to low 50s in RPI—that's still a dangerous spot for at-large NCAA Tournament consideration—they fell to 57 or 60 depending on which poll you look at following their 6-4 loss. OU has some work to do this weekend if it wants to ensure a tournament berth after many thought it'd be a regional host about a month ago.

5. A pair of OU men's tennis players collected ITA Central Region honors—Coston Paval was named Senior Player of the Year and Axel Alvarez Llamas won Rookie of the Year. The two and the rest of their team will take on third-seeded Georgia in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen Thursday morning in Urbana, Ill.

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