Earlier today at a press conference in the lobby of the MGM Grand casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, the inaugural MGM Grand Showcase was announced. After signing an exclusive three-year contract with bd Global, a sports marketing firm based in Kentucky, the MGM Grand will be provided with college basketball content. While other regular season events will be hosted at the MGM down the line, things will kick off with the Showcase, a nationally televised doubleheader benefiting Coaches vs Cancer.
Oklahoma State is one of four schools chosen to participate in the premiere event and will take on Colorado December 21st at 10:30 PM CT on ESPN2. New Mexico and Marquette are the other two teams invited to participate.
Head coach Travis Ford was in attendance and voiced his extreme pleasure in accepting the invitation to compete on such a grand stage.
I spoke to Ford after the press conference and asked him about the state of OSU basketball under his control.
"This should be our best team we've had since I've been here," Ford said. "I like how we've built (the program). We've built some consistency with it. Players come through our program and they get better. We're on a great path right now and we are in a really good spot at Oklahoma State."
With the return of Marcus Smart, the Cowboys are expected to be one of the best teams in the country (the curator of the press conference actually projected all four teams as conference champions this year), and they enter the season with a lot of hype to live up to. Ford says that it's exciting for your goals to climb higher and higher, but that their work isn't done yet.
"You have to embrace it a little bit," Ford said. "You're excited and realize that we have a good basketball team, but we have to understand what it takes to maximize our talent. We have to stay humble and hungry to be our best. We have to keep the expectations in perspective; we need to understand that we can be excited that we have the chance to be a very good basketball team, but we also need to understand that expectations have never won anything for anybody."
When Colorado coach Tad Boyle was asked about his thoughts on the Showcase, he said that when he accepted the invite he believed Marcus Smart was leaving for the NBA. Boyle added, jokingly, "Someone hoodwinked me into doing this."