Did the Longhorns Have a Hand in Keeping OU from Detroit?

Dino NicandrosAnalyst IApril 9, 2009

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 29:  Blake Griffin #23 of the Oklahoma Sooners jumps into Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional Final at the FedExForum on March 29, 2009 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

There is an article on the Austin American Statesman website written by senior writer Kirk Bohls that discusses the role the Texas Longhorns had in keeping Oklahoma from advancing to the national title game in Detroit.

You can read Bohls' article here.

A very unique hypothesis was made by a writer for the Tulsa World newspaper.  The writer believes that the concussion Blake Griffin suffered during the Feb. 23 loss to Texas was major factor in keeping OU from playing in the big game.

Without Griffin playing for the entirety of that game, the Sooners lost and their No. 1 seed hopes were damaged.

The writer didn't stop there. He continued on citing that Dexter Pittman and Dogus Balbay continually "slapped" Griffin in the face with malicious intent, thus causing him to leave the game with the concussion. 

Griffin would sit out the following week as well as the Sooners dropped another contest to Missouri as a result. 

So, by having to settle for a No. 2 seed following the losses without Griffin, the Sooners were not able to enjoy the apparent spoils that come with being a No. 1 seed.

Let me get this straight. Because the Sooners weren't given a No. 1 seed they felt they were robbed of a chance at a title.

Hmm, that's interesting because I was under the impression that all 64 teams in the tournament had an equal shot at a title, but that it was their job to get there. That's what the great teams do, right?

North Carolina did it. No wait, that's because they were a No. 1 seed and were therefore given an edge over everyone else in the tournament. Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough were not as significant to the Tar Heels title run as was the opportune seeding arrangement.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, had to deal with a much more difficult tests than North Carolina. Morgan State, Michigan and Syracuse are much better teams than Radford, LSU, and Gonzaga. 

By having to settle for a No. 2 seed, Oklahoma drew a much more competitive filed of games than did the Tar Heels.

Now I am of the belief that if you really think your the best and deserve a shot at the national title, you should be able to prove it anywhere at any time no matter the opponent. Sooner head coach Jeff Capel disagrees, apparently.

Had his team been a No. 1 seed, they could have potentially avoided a confrontation with North Carolina, thus giving them a much clearer path to Detroit.

Where is the honor in that anyway?

Besides, Oklahoma controlled their destiny even after their two straight losses following Griffin's injury. When he returned he was right back to his old form. All the Sooners had to do was win the Big XII tournament and prove to the nation that they could beat very competitive teams and claim their conference.

Instead, Oklahoma dropped their first round game against rival Oklahoma State, 71-70, with Griffin healthy I might add. 

I understand college basketball is a sport in which any team can beat any team at any time, but in March there are no excuses.  You either play up to your potential or you go home.  

If the Sooners felt they deserved a shot at a No. 1 seed they should have 1.) won the Big XII tournament, or at least  gotten out of the first round with a win and 2.) beaten North Carolina.

Since the Sooners were unable to do either they got the seeding they deserved and left the NCAA tournament in the correct fashion. 

Griffin was completely healthy at tourney time. In fact, he put up his best numbers of the season during the tournament, scoring 30 points accompanied by 14 rebounds. 

In regard to Grffin's injury, can one really blame either Pittman or Balbay for playing physical with one of the most physical player in the nation, much less in a game that was over a month before tournament action?

I guarantee you that had it been Pittman that suffered the concussion no one would care as much because he isn't the player of the year.   

So, if I were the writer from Tulsa, Oklahoma, I would be a lot more concerned about what OU will do next year after hearing the team departed for the NBA draft.