The American economy may be slowly recovering, but I promise you there is zero growth taking place right now. Congress might as well go ahead and declare national holidays for the first two days of the NCAA basketball tournament. Don’t act like you actually got anything accomplished at work yesterday. Unless you were waiting tables or bartending, I’m willing to bet you wasted hours of company time glued to a TV while constantly checking and re-checking your pathetic bracket. America’s businesses are coming to a screeching halt and rightly so. The NCAA tournament is the single most captivating sports event we have in this great country.
I love the NFL playoffs, but that’s only a couple games per day at the most. The first and second rounds of March Madness feature four glorious days of 48 games. I can’t even describe how amazing it is to know that I can roll out of bed, flip on some hoops and remain nearly motionless until the sun goes down. I can then repeat that beautiful process for three more days. I’m convinced this is why pizza, beer, and sports bars were invented. I can’t wait for the NHL playoffs, but only a game seven scenario can match the level of drama in the NCAA tournament. A single elimination format where the little guy always has a shot at realizing a dream, upsets reign, and one bad game can send you packing? Brilliance. The Masters is four straight days of unbeatable scenery and shot-making, but there’s no bracket for a golf tournament, no office pool, no opportunity to talk trash to your co-workers. The rest of the globe can have its World Cup; I’ll take these four days of buzzer beaters and last second heroics over 90 minutes of no action, no goals, and fake injuries. And the Olympics? Come on, don’t tell me you really get excited to break down the matchups in ice dancing or call in sick so you can watch equestrian.
“Good” will cut it in just about any profession, just not Capel’s. Good coaches get fired every season and some in this state believe now is the time for a change in leadership of the Oklahoma program.
Capel’s detractors have a case. The Sooners finished the season last night with a 20-point loss to Texas and an overall record of 14-18. For the first time in 46 years, OU has posted back to back losing seasons.
Capel’s squad will also miss the NCAA tournament for a second consecutive year. The Sooners haven’t been left out of the dance two years in a row since 1994.
There was a brutal string of nine straight losses at the end of last season. At one point this year, OU dropped eight in a row and wound up losing nine of its last eleven.
The Sooners have fallen close to the cellar in the Big 12 conference. Only Iowa State finished lower than OU in the standings, and ten of the Sooners conference losses were by a margin of ten points or more. It isn’t just that Capel’s team was losing, it’s that his team wasn’t even consistently competitive. It looks worse for OU when you look at recent history against the top teams in the conference. The Sooners have now dropped four in a row to Texas, four in a row to Texas A&M, and six straight to Kansas.
Critics also love to point out Capel’s recruiting history. Willie Warren, Tommy Mason-Griffin, and Tiny Gallon were all McDonald’s All-Americans and were supposed to be the next wave of Sooner superstars. They were going to pick up the slack after the departure of Blake Griffin, and continue to keep the program in a position of prominence. Warren played two seasons and bolted to the NBA. Mason-Griffin skipped town after only a year and was quoted in the Houston Chronicle saying, “School work was just not in my comfort zone.” Gallon also left Norman after his freshman season amidst allegations that he and his mother received $3,000 from a financial adviser. OU assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro was rumored to be connected to the adviser and the NCAA launched an investigation into Taliaferro’s actions.