In past years, a win over Kansas almost ensured a birth in the NCAA tournament for the Cowboys. This year, not so much.
At 9-8, the Cowboys own signature wins over Minnesota and TCU. Not very impressive. Oklahoma State missed an ideal opportunity to beat Oklahoma in Stillwater when a Jeffery Carroll three point attempt had a little too much power on it as time expired. After a loss to Texas, OSU is sharing the Big 12 basement with TCU. But what if the Pokes can pull off the upset tonight? Well, for one, it would not be a complete shocker.
Only one team in the country has beaten the Jayhawks each of the last three years. That would be OSU. Once in Lawrence, while the last two have come at Gallagher Iba Arena. However, this team is by far the weakest in recent memories. Kansas comes into the game at 15-2 with wins over UCLA, Baylor, and Oklahoma. Bill Self and company are eyeing a 12th-straight regular season Big 12 championship, and are on track to make that a reality. Standing in his way are the pesky Pokes. Oklahoma State has been a thorn in Self’s side ever since he left Stillwater and took the job at Kansas. In fact, his 12-7 record vs Oklahoma State is actually his worst against any current or former Big 12 school, including a 3-5 record in Stillwater. So it can/has been done.
For arguments sake, let’s say Oklahoma State pulls off four in a row. The Cowboy’s schedule won’t be doing them any favors moving forward. Four of the next six games will be away from GIA, and the two home games are Baylor and Iowa State. The Cowboys then finish out the regular season with road games at Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa State, while West Virginia and Texas are still yet to come to Stillwater. Not to mention a home and home with a surprisingly good Texas Tech team that might sweep the Pokes. Might. Let’s not get carried away now; it’s still Tech, who has only won one conference game since it started.
With a win, the Cowboys would improve to 10-8 and 2-4 in conference. But most importantly, Oklahoma State would have a signature win to hang their heads on. In order to make the NCAA tournament, the Pokes almost certainly need a win tonight and a lot more where that came from. However, even if Oklahoma State doesn’t make the tournament, beating Kansas never gets old.