Well it's official folks, the season is nearing the closing point. The Oklahoma State Men's Basketball team only has one home game left, and two away games. The Cowboys will look to avenge an embarrassing road loss when the surging TCU Horned Frogs come into Gallagher-Iba Arena. Before that though the Cowboys hit the road, traveling to to Texas Tech on Saturday. The Pokes then close out the season in Morgantown against West Virginia, and bring much trepidation and hope into the Big 12 Championship. This can only signal one thing; it's tourney time!
Flashback to October, In the Big 12 preseason polls Oklahoma State was picked to be a bottom feeder of the league, and by most people were picked to finish 8th; ahead of only TCU and TTU. The consensus for the Pokes was that this was to be "A rebuilding season" and that expectations should be kept at a minimum.
Back to present day, Oklahoma State sits at 6th in the league, and it's been on one heck of a roller coaster ride. Now is the part where your stomach would be in your throat. The Cowboys are in freefall, and have lost their last 3 contests, starting with that crushing blow to the ego in Fort Worth. With a Kansas State upset over Kansas in Manhattan earlier this week, OSU is only a half a game above the Wildcats in the standings.
So why is this seeding so important as we near the final horn? The bottom four teams will play each other to decide who will continue their season in the Big 12 Tournament. That means the team that finishes 7th will play the team that finishes 10th, the 8th seed playing the 9th. As I mentioned before, OK State is currently on that line at half a game ahead of K-State.
The Big 12 Championship begins on Wednesday, March 11th with the bottom four teams fighting it out to make it to Thursday. Playing on Wednesday is huge disadvantage, as in that, if you were to win the Championship, you'd have to win on four consecutive days. Playing four games in four days heading into the NCAA tournament is never something you want to do, unless you are a bubble team and need to win to get in the NCAA tournament. Though it may seem hard, it isn't impossible. Baylor went into the Championship last year as the 7 seed, and made it to the finals, before falling to Iowa State.
If the regular season were to end today, Oklahoma State would be playing Iowa State at 8pm on Thursday night, in the three and six seed matchup. This obviously can still change drastically though. With just a few games left to go, OU and WVU have the same record as the Cyclones. The Big 12 is a gauntlet and even the top 4 seeds won't be set in stone until the final weekend. Who knows, OSU might even get to spoil West Virginia's seeding as they close out the season in Morgantown.
Heading into tomorrow's game OK State needs to pick themselves up, brush the dirt off their backsides, and dig in. If Travis Ford wants to get an extra day of rest for his players and avoid a possible Thursday matchup with the two seed, then he has to get the Pokes ready for a big couple of weeks.
So do the Cowboys have it in them to finish the season strong? Hopefully the Cowboys can get on track in Lubbock against Texas Tech, and then carry that momentum and exact revenge on TCU and West Virginia as well.
Vote in the poll below, who would you like to see the Pokes face in their first game of the Big 12 Tournament?