Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger applauds from the sideline during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Former Gators’ Coach Lon Kruger Leading Sooners Men’s Basketball to Success this Season

The Oklahoma Sooners have done more than just exceed expectations this season, as they were picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big 12 preseason poll. This season, Oklahoma men’s basketball has been one of the surprise teams as they have risen as a top-tier team in not only the Big 12 but in the country as well. Head coach Lon Kruger and his Sooners were ranked No. 16 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll for Week 15.

Kruger Named to Coach of the Year Watch List

Kruger is one of 15 late season watch list candidates for the 2021 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Award, which was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Feb. 19.

Along with his team’s success, Kruger has received much recognition for how much he has shaped and uplifted the Sooners. The Sooners are not the first team that Kruger has rebuilt to success. Kruger was the first NCAA Division I coach to guide five different schools to the NCAA Tournament, one of only three head coaches to ever lead four schools to multiple NCAA Tournament wins, and he is the only coach to win an NCAA Tournament game with five programs.

One of these programs Kruger had strong success with was the Florida Gators men’s basketball team. Kruger coached the Gators from 1990 to 1996 and led the Florida team to the NCAA Division I Final Four in his 1993 to 1994 season.

Looking Ahead

The Sooners have a chance for redemption as they face the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a rematch at 9 p.m. tonight.

Kruger and his Sooners fell to Cowboys in overtime by a score of 94-90 on Saturday. This tough loss against their long-time rivals will serve as great motivation for the Sooners. As March Madness approaches, the Sooners needs a strong performance tonight after back-to-back losses to both Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

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