This isn't as easy as picking the more successful team on paper. If that were the case, we wouldn't need anyone to vote. Heck, we wouldn't even need a tournament. This is about ignoring the missed shots, and missed opportunities. This is about, if they played today, which team would come out the victor. We have to consider player match-ups, coaching styles, and more. So let's get into it!
Catch All The Tournament Action
Catch All The Tournament Action
Introducing The 2005 OSU Cowboys
RECORD: 26-7 (.788)
CONFERENCE RECORD: 11-5 (.688)
HEAD COACH: Eddie Sutton
KEY PLAYERS: Joey Graham, Stevie Graham, John Lucus, Ivan McFarlin, JamesOn Curry, Daniel Bobik
The Oklahoma State Cowboys entered the Big 12 Tournament as a 3-seed, and as defending tournament champions. They navigated their way through the bracket until they faced Texas Tech in the final. It was a battle. The Red Raiders frustrated the Pokes, but coach Eddie Sutton kept them focused.
"Coach [Eddie Sutton] told us, 'Don't get frustrated. Just keep playing, and your shots will fall,"' Lucas said. "And they did when it counted."
'when it counted' was an understatement. Cowboy great John Lucas took the game over, making 6 of his 19 points with just 1:33 left to play. Clutch free throws cemented the Pokes as back-to-back Big 12 Tournament Champions, defeating TTU 72 to 68.
It was a statement win, and the Pokes were awarded with a 2-seed NCAA Tournament bid. The Cowboys handled 15-seed SE Louisiana 63-50 to open the tournament, and then defeated 7-seed Southern Illinois to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Waiting for the Cowboys on the hardwood was 3-seed Arizona. The Cowboys went back and forth with the Wildcats. Joey Graham hit a huge bucket with just 18 seconds left to put the Pokes up 78-77 with 18 seconds, but Salim Stoudamire answered back over Daniel Bobik with 2.8 seconds remaining. With one last hope John Lucas found a shot from the corner...
``When I let it go, I thought it was going in. When it hit the back of the rim, my heart just dropped. It's just a real sad moment right now,'' Lucas said.
A heart-breaking loss. It was a dagger. This team, the talent, seemed destined for more. Something they share with their challenger...
Introducing The 2013 OSU Cowboys
RECORD: 24-9 (.727)
CONFERENCE RECORD: 13-5 (.722)
HEAD COACH: Travis Ford
KEY PLAYERS: Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Le'Bryan Nash, Phil Forte, Brian Williams, Michael Cobbins
The amount of talent in Stillwater had many fans pondering, Even with the rich basketball tradition at Oklahoma State, was this the most talented team to ever grace the white maple?
The highlight of the 2013 season came on February 2nd, in Lawrence, KS. The Cowboys defeated Goliath, and Marcus Smart sent a message to the college basketball world with a black flip center court. Oklahoma State was back!
Or so we thought. Despite the amount of talent, the Pokes just couldn't get it to come together on the court when it mattered most.
In the Big 12 tournament the Pokes advanced past Baylor to the semi finals before falling short to Kansas State, but it was enough to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament as a 5-seed. The seed nobody wants to be.
Just about every year a 12-seed ends up knocking off a 5-seed in the big dance, and Oklahoma State was facing about the best 12-seed anyone had ever seen in Oregon, and in their own back yard at that.
"Obviously we are playing a very tough Oregon team, which is playing its best basketball right now, and coming off a PAC-12 championship victory. They've won five of their last six games so it should be a great first round game." Coach Ford said at the time.
It was a bad draw for the Pokes, and in a surprise to no one, the selection committee admitted the Ducks had been bumped down in seeding for logistical reasons.
Come tip off, it just wasn't the Cowboys day. Oregon was playing red hot, the crowd was distinctly in their favor, and the Cowboys made costly turnovers in the hostile environment.
The early exit was a shock to Cowboy Nation. There was so much talent on the team, it just didn't seem fair for them to be headed back to Stillwater so soon.
As I said above, this isn't about picking the team that accomplished the most. It's about picking who would win if they played today, and this game features a very interesting clash of styles to consider.
The 2013 team is heavily guard-oriented led by 6-4 220 lb point guard, Marcus Smart. The Wayman Tisdale Award winner was accompanied by a freakishly athletic shooting guard, and SportsCenter Top 10 regular, Markel Brown, along with the sharp shooter with seemingly endless & effortless range, Phil Forte III.
The 2005 team has a distinct advantage inside, and on the boards, as Michael Cobbins (not hurt in this scenario) would have his hands full with Joey Graham, and McFarland in the paint.
However, the 2005 big's needs someone to feed them the ball on offense, and Smart and Forte's relentless pressure, and quick hands, would make it difficult for them to get the ball inside consistently.
The 2005 team features a classic man-to-man pressure defense, and most likely, Eddie Sutton would have played defensive specialist Marcus Dove on Smart for very large stretches of the game, which frees up JamesOn Curry or John Lucas to cover Brown and Forte, but that would leave Le'Bryan Nash or Bryan Williams largely unaccounted for.
Would an unmistakable coaching advantage be enough for the 2005 squad to overcome disadvantages in depth? Or would the 2013's fast break ability lead them to the next round?
Vote for who you think would win in the poll below, and feel free to make your case in the comments!
Let us not forget a big X-factor in this game. Natalie Bobik and her Sister Kristi (aka The Cool Chicks) were a force in the stands cheering on the 2005 team.