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Oklahoma basketball's Porter Moser talks blocking out 'inevitable' distractions as March Madness looms

Oklahoma basketball’s Porter Moser talks blocking out ‘inevitable’ distractions as March Madness looms

Tooba Shakir 2 months ago 0

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As the college basketball regular season winds down, the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament comes into focus. 

While UConn and other highly-ranked teams, such as Houston, Purdue and Arizona, appear to be virtual locks for this year’s tournament, several other teams remain on the bubble. Coaches across the nation are likely trying to get players to remain laser-focused on the task at hand — making it into the tournament.

The teams that are on the cusp of making the tournament tend to dominate conversations in the sports world in the days leading up to the Selection Sunday announcements. The increased level of attention can add to the number of distractions athletes typically contend with as the tournament looms.

During a recent appearance on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Porter Moser discussed the challenge of getting players, especially those suiting up for teams on the bubble, to block out all the noise.

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Porter Moser coaches

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Porter Moser looks on during a college basketball game against the Butler Bulldogs at the Lloyd Noble Center on Dec. 7, 2021 in Norman, Oklahoma. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

“I just think right now it’s almost inevitable… I mean these guys, they’re doing bracketology in September, it seems like. The guys aren’t living in a bubble, they’re on social media, every outlet is talking about everything,” Moser responded when asked about how much he talks to the players about the tournament. 

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“We do address the elephant in the room. We’re talking about these are opportunities, these are quad one wins… let’s start banking them, let’s start stacking them,” Moser added. “Because we’ve addressed it, we know where we want to go, we know where we want to be.”

Porter Moser reacts during a game

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Porter Moser reacts to a call during a college basketball game against the Providence Friars at Lloyd Noble Center on Dec. 5, 2023 in Norman, Oklahoma. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The first round of the tournament begins on March 21, just a few days after Selection Sunday.

The tournament field is made up of 36 “at-large” teams. An NCAA selection committee selects those teams, which are scheduled to be announced on March 17. The 32 teams who win their respective Division I conferences round out the field of 68 teams.

Moser also spoke about how the Sooners battled through a daunting stretch of games against some of the best teams in the nation.

NCAA men's basketball championship

The NCAA men’s basketball championship trophy is displayed before the game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans at Desert Financial Arena on Jan. 20, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“We were on a five-game stretch where nobody in the country went through what we went through. We had four games against top 12 teams, and a road game against your rival in the last bedlam series at Oklahoma State. We had Baylor, Kansas, at Oklahoma State, and then Iowa State, Houston…. So we won one of them.

“I think the guys knew we had to win it. We really kind of addressed it a little bit and went after it… and then, all of a sudden, the circumstances… losing our leading scorer right before the game. I can’t say enough about how much resolve and grit my guys had and especially those seniors who are done after this year.”

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The Final Four is set for April 6 at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, with the championship game slated for April 8.

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