Commentary

Osby: OU can make postseason run

Sooners junior forward was on Mississippi State team that made tourney run in 2009

Updated: February 19, 2012, 11:53 PM ET
By Brandon Chatmon | SoonerNation

NORMAN, Okla. -- Romero Osby is hoping for a repeat performance.

Oklahoma's junior forward knows what it is like to be on a team that gets on a tear to end the season and earns an NCAA Tournament berth by winning its conference tournament.

[+] EnlargeRomero Osby
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireJunior forward Romero Osby has been a team leader for the Sooners.
Osby was a freshman when Mississippi State won the 2009 SEC Tournament, winning six straight games -- including four straight SEC Tournament contests -- after going 1-5 in its six previous games. Osby played 12.6 minutes per game, averaging 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds for a Bulldog squad that finished 23-13 overall that season. He transferred to OU after his sophomore season.

Now, as one of the leaders of the Sooners, Osby is hoping to use that experience to help his teammates understand their postseason destiny remains under their control despite a lackluster record (13-13, 3-11 in Big 12).

"We were just like this team," Osby said of the 2008-09 Bulldogs. "Up and down, couldn't really get a road win when we needed it, couldn't get a home win when we needed it.

"This team has a lot of similarities."

With the Sooners in the midst of a six-game losing streak and needing to go on a winning run for any hopes of postseason play, Osby reflected on how the Bulldogs did it.

"Everyone's mindset was, 'We're not going to be selfish, we are going to be together and play defense,' " he said. "And we came together and won that tournament."

Struggles with trying to do too much as individuals has been part of OU's problem this season. When opponents go on scoring runs, the Sooners allow the runs to take them out of their rhythm and begin trying to do things individually -- either on the offensive or defensive end -- leading to turnovers and open shots for the opposition.

That's one of the main differences between the two teams in Osby's eyes.

"Not saying we are being selfish, but everybody forgot about themselves [at MSU]," Osby said. "I feel like we can do the same thing, if we do that ... just be as unselfish as possible on both ends."

They'll also have to start learning from their losses.

OU repeatedly has seen teams pull away from it in the second half, and the Sooners still haven't learned from it with the end of the regular season quickly approaching. Iowa State became yet another team to pull away in the second half and defeat the Sooners on Saturday. The Cyclones outscored OU 33-12 during a 10-minute stretch in the middle of the second half.

"Sometimes you have to remember what happened last time," Osby said. "You have to think about it when you are on the floor, because it has happened to us in pretty much every game we've lost."

Osby thinks his team has learned from its 11 conference losses, but they aren't translating what they have learned to the next game.

"We are learning from it, but we aren't thinking about it consciously, as it's happening," Osby said. "We aren't saying, 'We aren't letting this happen again.'

"It has to be everybody; it can't be one or two people thinking about that."

Nonetheless, the Sooners forward continues to have postseason dreams despite a disappointing season, because he's been on a team that has done it before, and he is confident his team will learn, and get better, from all of the losses it has endured since January.

"It's the perfect time to make a run and earn our way into the NCAA Tournament or earn our way into the NIT Tournament," Osby said.

Brandon Chatmon covers University of Oklahoma sports and recruiting for SoonerNation. He can be reached at bchatmonespn@gmail.com.

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