OU Making 25th Appearance at NCAA

Oklahoma makes its 25th NCAA Tournament appearance tonight when it tips off with St. Joseph's in Birmingham, Ala. It's the Sooners' first appearance under second-year head coach Jeff Capel. See how Oklahoma and Capel have fared in the past.

Jeff Capel makes his first postseason appearance as the University of Oklahoma head coach tonight when the Sooners take on St. Joseph's in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala.

The tipoff is at 6:10 p.m. at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.

The game will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action. Friday's and Sunday's games will be televised regionally by CBS (KWTV Channel 9 in OKC and KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa). Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery will announce.

The winner between the sixth-seeded Sooners (22-11) and the 11th-seeded Hawks (21-12) will advance to play the winner of No. 3 seed Louisville and No. 14 seed Boise State at approximately 4 p.m. Sunday at the BJCC. Also in Birmingham for the East Regional are No. 2 seed Tennessee, No. 7 seed Butler, No. 10 seed South Alabama and No. 15 seed American.

This is Oklahoma's 25th NCAA Tournament appearance and 12th in 14 years. The Sooners are back in the NCAA Tournament after seeing their nation's-longest 25-year postseason streak (20 NCAAs, five NITs) come to an end last year.

The Sooners have history as a No. 6 seed and in Birmingham. They are 2-2 as a No. 6 seed with both wins coming in the 1987 tournament over No. 11 seed Tulsa (74-69) and No. 3 seed Pittsburgh (96-93) before losing to second-seeded Iowa in overtime in the Sweet 16.

They were also a No. 6 seed in 2006 and lost to 11th-seeded UW-Milwaukee (82-74) in the first round.

The last time OU was in Birmingham was 20 years ago in the 1988 tournament. Then a No. 1 seed, Oklahoma beat fifth-seeded Louisville in the Southeast Regional semifinals (108-98) and then sixth-seeded Villanova (78-59) to advance to the Final Four. That year Oklahoma lost the Kansas (83-89) in the national championship.

Oklahoma has never faced St. Joe's or Boise State in men's basketball. The Sooners are 2-0 all-time against Louisville.

Against the rest of the NCAA Tournament field, Oklahoma was 7-8 this season with wins over Arkansas, Baylor (twice), Gonzaga, Mount St. Mary's, Texas A&M and West Virginia. The losses came to Kansas, Kansas State, Memphis, Texas (three times), Texas A&M and Southern California.

As for Capel, this is his second appearance as a head coach. He guided VCU to the 2004 tournament where his 13th-seeded Rams nearly upset No. 4 seed Wake Forest, which featured Chris Paul, in a 79-79 loss.

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