In 1983, Billy Tubbs's third Oklahoma men's basketball team made just the fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. The seventh-seeded Sooners lost to No. 2 seed Indiana in the second round, but the wheels to an illustrious run in OU hoops history had been set in motion.
The postseason appearance that year was the second of 25 straight for the Sooners, who played in the NIT the season before. A remarkable 21 of those postseason trips were to the NCAA Tournament, and the 25-year streak stood as the longest in the country.
OU went on to be a No. 2 seed the next season, a No. 1 seed in 1985 when it made the Elite Eight, and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1987 as a No. 6 seed.
Then came the 1988 Sooners, still regarded as the best team in school history and certainly the most exciting. OU's highest scoring squad ever (it averaged 102.9 points per game that year) featured three players who earned All-America honors that season or the next (Harvey Grant, Stacey King and Mookie Blaylock). Oklahoma's road to the Final Four that year began at The Omni in Atlanta, Ga., against UT-Chattanooga and Auburn. The Sooners entered the NCAA Tournament as the Southeast Region's No. 1 seed and the nation's fourth-ranked team.
Now, just more than a quarter-century later, a similar feel again surrounds the Oklahoma program. Coach Lon Kruger's Sooners are ranked 21st in the AP Poll and are back in the Big Dance as a No. 5 seed this week in Spokane, Wash. OU is the eighth-highest scoring team in the country at 82.2 points per game (its highest average since 1994).
Today, the Sooner Sports TV archives are opened with the re-edited broadcast of OU's 1988 opening round NCAA games. This Wednesday on Fox Sports Oklahoma, catch Tim Ryan and Curry Kirkpatrick call the Sooners' second-round game vs. Auburn at 11 p.m. CT. Premium subscribers can re-live the "Billy Ball" days right now on-demand at SoonerSports.tv.