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OU basketball: Sooners selected as No. 4 seed in NCAA Tournament, face IUPUI as 2-round regional host in Norman

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Jennie Baranczyk

Head Coach Jennie Baranczyk during the game against Kansas State on Feb 26.

Oklahoma (24-8, 12-6 Big 12) was selected as a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

OU made the tournament for the first time since the 2017-18 season and is a top-16 overall seed for the first time since 2010.

The Sooners will host their first-round game in the Bridgeport Region against No. 13-seeded Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolisย (24-4) in Norman.

โ€œI don't know them all that well,โ€ Baranczyk said of IUPUI. โ€œBut, I do know that they do have an inside presence. I do know that they're very well-coached. That's the best part about the NCAA Tournament. You play teams that you don't know and they don't know you. I think from that standpoint, it almost refreshes you.โ€

This season, Baranczyk has guided OU to 23 wins, the most since the 2016-17 season and the most under a first-year head coach in program history.

The Sooners also secured their first Big 12 top-four finish in four seasons and their first Big 12 Tournament win since 2016. Additionally, Oklahoma earned four top-25 wins, including two over Big 12 champion No. 5 Baylor.

Seniors Madi Williams and Taylor Robertson were unanimous All-Big 12 First-Team selections, while guards Kelbie Washington and Skylar Vann made the Big 12 All-Freshman Team and won Big 12 Sixth Player of the Year, respectively.

โ€œWhen you love what you do, how you do it and who you get to do it with, those championships tend to find you,โ€ Baranczyk said. โ€œGoing to the NCAA Tournament, being able to host the NCAA Tournamentโ€ฆ that's all part of the culture building. That's all part of the whole experience. This is a huge piece of that.โ€

Baranczyk is one of 10 finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award and could become the first OU menโ€™s or womenโ€™s coach to win the honor. She will be looking for her first NCAA Tournament win as a head coach.

OU will tip off against the IUPUI Jaguars at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 19 at the Lloyd Noble Center (ESPNU).

โ€œWe need our community to be part of this,โ€ Baranczyk said. โ€œIf we don't show out in Norman, and we don't show out for Oklahoma, we might not get another opportunity (to host). This is really important for us, I strongly believe that.โ€

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