This week, we are trying out a new variation on the roundtable; three questions for three staff CRFF staff members. This week we’re talking basketball and wrestling, as both sports are now in the post-season.
The Cowboys finished conference play 9-9 in basketball and are in Kansas City today for the Big 12 Tournament to face off against Iowa State to start.
How do you feel about the first matchup? What do they need to do versus ISU to keep from being 1-and-done?
Phillip Slavin: Play defense. Offense was not the problem in the Cowboys' last two losses to ISU and KU; it was defense. I don't think Iowa State is going to shoot as well from three, so make sure they can't get easy transition buckets, and OSU SHOULD be able to outscore them.
Micah Allen: I think it's one we can win. I think it's unlikely this team loses to a team three times. We need to make our shots and play really good defense in order to win though.
Colin Price: If we’re hoping they make a March run, the Cowboys gotta get hot early, stay out of foul trouble, and close out quicker on threes. The last two games, they were slow to start, the bigs got in foul trouble early, and the over emphasis to collapse in the paint opened up big space for threes. And that turned into a two-game losing streak. Fix that up and play smart and the Cowboys are poised for a run.
The Cowboys are also looking like a 7-seed in the Big Dance and could face a second round 2-seed like Louisville. What do you see as a basement and a ceiling for this tournament run? If you could choose any 2-seed to face in the bracket, who would it be and why? (Projected right now are Louisville, Oregon, Baylor, and Kentucky)
PS: Offensively, this team can compete with a lot of teams. Defensively, they still concern me. I think a sweet 16 run might be there ceiling, which I am perfectly fine with. As far as those options, I just want to avoid a team in ANY round that has talented bigs, i.e.: Baylor.
MA: Basement: we lose in the first round. Ceiling: we make it to Sweet 16 or the Elite Eight. I would pick Baylor because of all the teams on the list, they're the one that we are most familiar with. And like I said about ISU, I think the chances of losing to a team three times in a row is unlikely with the fight that this team has.
CP: Basement of course is a disappointing one-and-done. I think an attainable ceiling is the Sweet 16 and the peak being a Final Four run for the ages, guaranteeing Brad Underwood a sweet, sweet contract extension. If I could choose the 2-seed for the team to face, I’d definitely go with Louisville. Solid guard play on both sides and they don’t rely heavily on their bigs for production. It’d be a fun, exciting, and winable matchup.
Cowboy wrestling just wrapped up their 51st conference title in spectacular fashion: sending all 10 wrestlers to the finals and claiming the championship in eight of them. They now head to the NCAA tournament looking for their 35th National Title. Who has been your favorite wrestler this year? How well do you think the team will do?What are your concerns going in?
PS: Favorite wrestler? That would require having watched a match. (I did follow quite a few on Twitter). I still think this is one of the two best teams this year. Considering the fact that Ohio State, not Penn State or Iowa, won the Big 10 Championship, this could end up being a wide open National Championship. I think OSU still has the best chance to win and grab title number 35.
MA: To be completely honest I've only been to one match this season so I can't really be much help with this question. But, I'd have to say based on following from afar, Kyle Crutchmer. I think they'll do well at the NCAA tournament. We have a lot of good guys. My concerns would be being able to match up to the high level of competition that will be there. For example, teams like Ohio State and Penn State.
CP: Apparently I’m one of the few contributors who followed the team pretty religiously this year. I’ve been a big fan of Dean Heil for the last couple of years and would love to see him bring home his second consecutive title and propel the team to Championship No. 35. As for the field, I think it could be a craps shoot. Penn State and Ohio State will be the teams to watch but the field isn’t a 3-team race. If the Cowboys want to win it all, they’re going to need to rack up a good bit of bonus points to stay ahead of the pack.