Oklahoma beats West Virginia, should rise to No. 1 in AP and Coaches polls

NCAA Oklahoma West Virginia basketball
Oklahoma survived a scare from West Virginia on Saturday. (USATSI)

Oklahoma should and will be No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches polls Monday.

That’s the byproduct of Khadeem Lattin’s putback in the final seconds Saturday afternoon that lifted the Sooners to a 70-68 victory over the same West Virginia team that beat No. 1 Kansas earlier in the week. So now Oklahoma — which is 15-1 overall, 4-1 in the Big 12 and currently ranked second in the AP and Coaches polls — has a resume featuring five top-50 KenPom wins and a lone loss that came in triple-overtime at Kansas. And that, at this point in the season, is undeniably a resume worthy of the top spot in the rankings.

West Virginia is 15-2 overall, 4-1 in the Big 12.

So there’s now a four-way tie for first in the Big 12 standings.

Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kansas and Baylor are all 4-1 in the league.

West Virginia’s pressure defense, and the attention it paid specifically to Buddy Hield, made it difficult for the National Player of the Year candidate to ever really get going Saturday like he did last week when he put 46 points on Kansas. Hield only took 11 shots against West Virginia, made five and finished with 17 points and four rebounds. He’s now averaging 26.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 52.1 percent from the field, 51.6 percent from 3-point range and 90.4 percent from the free throw line.

“They made it tough for me,” Hield acknowledged in a postgame interview. “West Virginia [does] a good job of face-guarding. Hats off to them. They play really hard. It’s a tough team. One of the best teams in the country. They proved it.”

For those interested, here’s how the top five of the AP poll will likely look Monday:

  1. Oklahoma (15-1)
  2. Kansas (15-2)
  3. North Carolina (16-2)
  4. Villanova (16-2)
  5. Xavier (16-1)

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