We've now hit the midpoint of conference play and the Cowboys have won four conference games in a row after dropping 6 straight in close fashion. After a very up-and-down start to conference play, the Cowboys have rattled off five straight wins, with the latest coming against West Virginia in Morgantown.
The Cowboys resurgence is worth discussing, so we did that. Check it out.
How do you feel about the team now versus after the 6th loss?
Phillip Slavin: I feel confident for the first time since entering Big 12 play. The team looks like they're playing better, especially on the defensive end. They're not suddenly world beaters, but they're back on track for a March Madness bid.
Cade Webb: I am high on this team right now. At this point in the season, I'm confident that they have a chance every time they step on the court. That's a far cry from just last season, with pretty much the same players. I was down on the team after the sixth loss, but I knew what they were capable of, and I think they're starting to scratch the surface. It will be a fun few weeks as the season winds down.
Will Hendrickson: We look like a completely different basketball team than we did three weeks ago. The defensive adjustment and the increased role from Davon Dillard have really given some life to this team. We still have the capability to put up 90+ any given night thanks to the trio of Evans, Carroll and Forte and when you couple that with the new found defense, this team looks on track to get back to the big dance.
Colin Price: I’m really liking this team now. They found a system that plays to their strengths and hides their weaknesses and they’re riding a wave of confidence after beating a good Arkansas squad, rival OU, and a couple of respectable teams in TCU and Texas Tech. After the losses, I was ready to write the season off as a starting point for Brad Underwood but he’s showed his grit and made the right adjustments to get the season back on track.
What do you think the ceiling and basement for this team is?
Phillip: Looking at the last 9 games on the schedule, I think they can pull out 6 more wins, including an upset over Kansas or Baylor, to finish 9-9 in conference. .500 in the Big 12 means an invite and right now that's what the team needs to be focused on. Getting enough wins to get in.
Cade: I think their ceiling is finishing .500 in conference play. That would be really impressive considering how they started. I think that's actually where they finish up. That would require them to go 6-3 down the stretch, which is certainly doable. Even if they were to go 5-4 down the stretch, and finish at 8-10 in conference play, I think they're in. The floor for this team is probably 3-6, winning at home against OU, Tech and Texas, and losing every other game. I don't see that happening. This team is rolling.
Will: Ceiling is probably a 7 or 8 seed in the NCAA tournament. Basement is a bid to the NIT. I think this team finishes up somewhere in between and gets a 9-11 seed come march.
Colin: As a ceiling for this team, I can see them finishing out the season 8-1, winning all 5 of their home games, beating TCU on the road, and stealing wins in two of the road games against WVU, KSU, or ISU. This takes them into the tournament riding a wave of confidence all the way to the conference championship game and into the NCAA tournament as an 8-10 seed. As for the basement, the team could finish out the season 4-5 and drop the first game of the conference tournament and make a push in the NIT.
What percent chance do you think they have of making the tournament and why?
Phillip: I'm at 70%, but that's because I think OSU gets 6 or 7 more wins this season (at least one in the Big 12 tournament). However, another slip up or a three game losing streak and their chances shoot straight down to 0.
Cade: I'd put it at 75%. I feel really good about it, but OSU also could be in for a wake-up call over the next week. They face West Virginia on the road on Saturday, and then welcome Baylor to town on the following Wednesday. I think they've got to force an upset in one of those games to remain confident in their chances to make the tournament. Right now, they've just got to win the games they're supposed to win and they're in.
Will: I would give us about a 65% chance. I think the strength of the Big 12 will really help our case down the stretch. We have chances to beat NCAA tourney teams almost every single matchup the rest of the way. That being said, because of the big hole we put ourselves in, the margin for error is still pretty slim. I think we need to win 6 more games (including an upset of Baylor, Kansas, or WV) to be safely in come selection Sunday.
Colin: 75%. The team is hot and they’re riding the confidence into another tough stretch. If they can finish the season with a respectable 6-3 stretch and a win or two in the conference tournament, they’ll be a lock for the big dance.
How do you feel about this team right now? Is OSU tournament bound? What is their ceiling? Leave your answers in the comments below.