Kruger to make NCAA history when Sooners tip off in tournament
Win or lose, OU men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger will make history during the Sooners’ opening game in the NCAA Tournament.
Kruger will become the first person to coach five schools in NCAA Tournament games when the Sooners (20-11) meet San Diego State (22-10) in a Friday matchup in Philadelphia.
“It wasn’t a career path we planned early on. But I’ve enjoyed every stop,” Kruger said during Monday’s conference call with Big 12 coaches. “I’m excited for this group of players … finally being able to play in the postseason.”
The Sooners, who lean on four seniors in their primary nine-player rotation, are back in the postseason for the first time since 2009. Kruger, in his second season at OU, led Florida to the 1994 Final Four and has posted a career mark of 14-13 in NCAA tournament games at Kansas State (1987-90), Florida (1994-95), Illinois (1997-98, 2000) and UNLV (2007-08, 2010-11).
Kruger won at least three tournament games in each of his previous stops heading into his March Madness debut at OU.
“Lon has a history of being successful in the NCAA Tournament,” said Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, whose NCAA-bound team posted a 2-1 mark against the Sooners this season. “He does a great job of putting those guys in position to be successful.”