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OU men's basketball: Sooners to cap season with crucial game against TCU

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Kristian Doolittle

Senior forward Kristian Doolittle drives the ball during the game against Texas on March 3.

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger and senior forward Kristian Doolittle answered questions from the media following the Sooners' practice Thursday on the heels of a tough loss to Texas.

The Sooners fell to the Longhorns on a last-second 3-pointer after Oklahoma missed three of its last four free throws in the final 19 seconds of the game. Despite this, Kruger's squad will need to stay focused on their final regular season opponent, TCU.

Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia will all be competing for the No. 3-7 seeds in the 2020 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament, and all five teams play on Saturday. The matchup between the Sooners and the Horned Frogs will be the last game played among those teams.

"We know that they're desperate for a win to boost their resume," Doolittle said. "But we also need this win as well. Dropping that game against Texas ... we put ourselves in a pretty good spot to be third (in the conference). It didn't go the way we wanted to so we're going to have to be able to come out to play with a lot of intensity to win the game."

Putting the Sooners' last loss against Texas behind them will be difficult, given the way the final 19 seconds of Wednesday's game unfolded. Kruger says the key to bouncing back is to try to take away the positives from the other 39 minutes.

"No, that's just the tough part of athletics," Kruger said. "You put yourself out there and all the sudden, a shot goes in like it did the other night you feel terrible for our side. If it doesn't go in you feel great for our side, it doesn't change how we battle for the other 39 (minutes)."

According to Doolittle, it's hard for the team not to imagine what could have been, had the Sooners pulled out a victory over Texas. With a win and a Texas Tech loss, the Sooners could've been looking at a No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, an impressive finish for a team predicted to finish No. 9 in the Big 12 preseason poll.

Now the Sooners could be looking at a No. 7 seed, a decent but not great finish to what has been a very up-and-down season.

"We're kind of guilty of looking ahead a little bit at what could've been if we would've won against Texas," Doolittle said. "We kinda let the moment slip away from us. But you know we've got to be fully focused on TCU, and whatever happens, happens."

Oklahoma, which has been teetering around the bubble of ESPN's Joe Lundardi's projections, needs a strong finish to the season to solidify its place in the tournament. Doolittle says that despite all the chaos that could unfold on the final Saturday of the Big 12 regular season, he won't be watching any other games before his game against the Horned Frogs.

"I'll be solely focused on our game," Doolittle said. "I try not to do that too much."

Oklahoma's matchup with TCU will be on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT on ESPN2. 

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