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 Indianapolis (24-4) in Norman.
“I don't know them all that well,” Baranczyk said of IUPUI. “But, 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.”
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.
“When you love what you do, how you do it and who you get to do it with, those championships tend to find you,” Baranczyk said. “Going to the NCAA Tournament, being able to host the NCAA Tournament… that's all part of the culture building. That's all part of the whole experience. This is a huge piece of that.”
Baranczyk is one of 10 finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award and could become the first OU men’s or women’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).
“We need our community to be part of this,” Baranczyk said. “If 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.”