Oklahoma sophomore guard De'Vion Harmon will not be available to the Sooners on Saturday in their first round NCAA Tournament matchup against Missouri. Harmon tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Indiana, coach Lon Kruger said Wednesday. Harmon, who ranks second on the team this season in minutes, points and assists per game, will also not be available in the second round should the Sooners advance against their former Big 12 foe.
That eliminates a key piece to OU's two-way attack not just against the ninth-seeded Tigers, who are back in the March Madness field for the first time since 2018, but also against likely second-round opponent and No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga. It also, on paper, could make the Bulldogs' path to a second-ever Final Four even easier with Kansas, Virginia and Oklahoma -- all teams from the West Region -- dealing with COVID issues.
A former four-star, top-50 talent from Texas, Harmon has blossomed into a reliable co-star next to Austin Reaves this season. Averaging 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.1 assists, he has helped key Oklahoma's balanced attack all season as a defensive hound and key initiator on offense.
Without Harmon, the Sooners will likely turn even more to Reaves to create offense, but it could also be an opening for both Elijah Harkless and Umoja Gibson to take on expanded roles. Harkless is far and away the team's most impactful defender and he's played 30 or more minutes in his last 11 games while slowly soaking up more responsibility on offense. Gibson is one of the more efficient players for Oklahoma this season on offense, hitting 41.5% from 3-point range.