Watch: Mike Boynton Makes OSU’s Case For NCAA Tournament
KANSAS CITY, MO. — Will they or won’t they? All the Oklahoma State Cowboys can do now is sit and wait for Selection Sunday.
Going into Thursday’s 60-47 loss to Texas in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament, the Cowboys (18-15) were considered one of the Last Four In per ESPN’s Bracketology by Joe Lunardi. That was on the strength of the Cowboys’ win over Oklahoma in the first round on Wednesday night.
The Cowboys were two spots away from being the Last Team In and were projected to play a First Four Game with Penn State as a No. 11 seed.
But now? With a loss to Texas, a team that had already beaten them twice this season?
Well, the Cowboys won’t know for certain until the selections come down. But head coach Mike Boynton Jr. spent some time Thursday making his program’s case for a bid, which would be the team’s second since he took over as head coach.
Actually, he felt the case had already been made even before the Cowboys got to Kansas City.
“Yeah, I thought we did enough coming into the tournament to be perfectly honest,” he said. “I mean, this league presents challenges that, I’ve been in several others, that no other league does. And I think it’s historically good this year. It’s not just a good league and not just a league that is better than the others, but it’s far and away better than the other leagues. And with all due respect, because there’s really good basketball around the country, but to get eight wins in this conference, three in a row, three sweeps, to play the schedule we played overall is a testament to the character of these guys. I think we certainly deserve inclusion into the event.”
After the loss, Oklahoma State’s status had changed. During halftime of the Kansas State-TCU game ESPN showed its updated Bracketology board with the Cowboys now the last team in the field.
Oklahoma State’s credentials would include not just its 18 wins, but its eight league wins in the toughest conference in America. That’s one more league win than West Virginia, which most expect to be selected on Sunday.
Entering Thursday’s game the Cowboys had a NCAA NET rating of 41, with six Quad 1 wins. The Cowboys would have had a seventh had they beaten Texas.
What could hurt the Cowboys is their Quad 2 and Quad 3 records. The Cowboys are 4-2 against Quad 2 teams and 3-1 against Quad 3 teams. Compare that to West Virginia, which had a NET rating of 19 on Thursday and was 6-1 in Quad 2 games and 1-0 in Quad 3 games.
Boynton might be the first to point out that the Mountaineers and the Cowboys split their Big 12 series.
The “strength and the grind” of the Big 12, as Boynton pointed out on Wednesday, might pull the Cowboys up on Sunday.
His players certainly hope so.
“It’s tough because it’s probably a three-day wait, and there’s a lot of basketball left to play around the country,” Cowboys guard John-Michael Wright said. “We just have to sit and watch other teams play and just see how it goes across each league in the country. But you know, like I said, I believe we have done enough, my team, my coaching staff, we believe we’ve done enough. We are just going to sit, wait and be patient for our name to be called on Sunday.”
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard