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Does Oklahoma State deserve to make the Big Dance?

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I watched the VTech/Duke game on Saturday and I have to admit, it was a nostalgic experience. I remembered back to the day we played Virgina Tech in the 76 Classic and actually had a chance to win. It was a 5 point loss, away from home, against a team that would eventually beat the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils.

Earlier this week, coach Ford was quoted as saying he couldn't believe we still had an RPI of 55 after all the team had been through. 4 losses in a row , the loss of a point guard to injury, the suspension of key contributor and the suspension of your point guard replacement in the span of a few months is a lot to deal with. 

As of this writing, the team has an RPI of 58.

Click the jump to see what I spent way too much time analyzing for your enjoyment.

Now unlike the BCS, RPI is not the ultimate authority on who makes the dance and who doesn't but it certainly matters to some degree.

Let's take a look at the teams that Oklahoma State has lost to and really see if it's as bad as we all think it is.

1. Virginia Tech, 51-56 (Neutral)

The Hokies have the ACC's second leading scorer in Malcom Delaney and they beat Duke. I fucking hate Duke but not many people beat them. They will make the tourney for sure and have the talent to make a run. A 5 point loss to these guys isn't bad at all.

2. @Gonzaga, 52-73

A road game on New Year's Eve. Talk about a trap. Since the McCarhey center opened in 2004, the Bulldogs have been virtually unbeatable. In seven seasons, they have lost 5 times. Their only losses at home this year have come to ranked teams. Oh, and did I mention it was on New Year's Eve? Not a bad loss.

3. @Texas A&M, 48-71

Texas A&M is tough at home and they are a good team. I'm not going to get too upset about this.They've lost twice at home all year. Once to Baylor and once to Texas. Both good teams.

4. @Colorado 71-75

Colorado just beat a very good Texas team and has only lost 2 games at home all season. Kansas  and an overtime contest against Texas A&M. I'll actually take a 4 point loss as a moral victory.

5. @Baylor 57-76

Baylor is a bit of a head scratcher. They were a top 10 team earlier this season and seem to be better than what their record indicates. They've dropped 2 at home this year to Kansas and Texas Tech. The Bears are not an easy out for anyone come tourney time.  Not a terrible loss for the Cowboys.

6. Texas 46-61

We simply don't have the tools to play with a team like Texas. Not many teams do. The Longhorns will fight for a 1 seed and will be no worse than a 2. Not a bad loss.

7. @Texas Tech 74-75 OT

The Red Raiders are bad. This is a bad loss. BUT, it was a one point loss on the road in overtime. Ok, this hurts a little.

8. @Nebraksa 54-65

The Cornhuskers are a good team at home. They have losses to Kansas and Kansas State and wins against Colorado, Texas A&M and Texas. Yet another team Big 12 team that is very hard to beat on their home court.

9. @Texas 55-73

See above. The Longhorns are really good and are even better at home.

10. Texas A&M 66-67

A one point loss at home to a ranked Texas A&M team. It's never good to lose at home, but the Aggies are not a bad team to lose to. Not a bad loss at all.

11. Kansas, 65-92

Kansas is very, very good. A definite 1 or 2 seed in the tourney. We just don't have the talent to play with a team like this on the road. Who wins @ Kansas anyway? Oh yeah, Texas -  a  team we had to play twice.

Am I making excuses for our losses? Absolutely.

But on a serious note, we have 3 losses to teams that with top 10 RPI's in Texas and Kansas. Texas A&M, a good tournament team got us twice. Nebraska and Colorado were unfortunate road games. I think we win both in Stillwater this year. Chalk it up to unlucky scheduling. Baylor, a team that a lot considered to be in the top 10 earlier this year beat us at home, and Texas Tech who is um........ok they are bad. So we have ONE bad loss all season. An overtime road game in Lubbock.

So where do we go from here? Well, we have to beat Baylor. It won't do much for our RPI but a loss would completely eliminate us from the conversation. The final game of the season is @Oklahoma and while a win won't do much for us - a loss would kill us.

Win those games and you find yourself on a 3 game winning streaking heading in to the Big 12 tourney. 19-11.

It looks like we'll be somewhere around a 7-8-9 seed heading into it so a one and done seems likely. That would put the Cowboys at 20-12 with an RPI around 60. Is it likely? No. But you never know what can happen in the final weeks leading up to the Big Dance. Worst case, we'll do a different dance in the NIT.