The long wait is over! The field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament has finally been announced, and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are breaking out their dancing shoes! The pokes were selected as a 9-seed in the West bracket.
The Cowboys will travel to Omaha, NE, where they'll face 8-seed Oregon in the Round of 64. Yes, that Oregon. The same team that Marcus Smart and crew were pitted against two years ago. It was a bit of a raw deal for Oklahoma State since the selection committee admittedly bumped the Ducks down in seeding citing logistical reasons. The Cowboys fell to the Ducks on what was basically their home court. It was an abrupt end for what many had hoped to be a magical run for the Pokes.
Here is what Twitter had to say about the rematch:
I've seen this movie before.— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) March 15, 2015
Going back to 2013, #Okstate has lost 6 consecutive games to the University of O.....— Robert Whetsell (@RobertW_OkSt) March 15, 2015
Fun Fact: According to the Selection Show the 9-seed upsets the 8-seed more often than not. #OKState— Chris Ross (@ChrisRossSports) March 15, 2015
#OkState by 10 Go Pokes!— WeusedtogOtofinal4s (@WastedOptimism) March 15, 2015
Similar to the last time they played, Oregon is one of the hottest teams in the country heading into the tournament. They've won 13 of its last 16 games since Jan. 22. On the other hand, OSU is limping into the tournament, having lost six of its last seven games since Feb. 14.
The thing that strikes me right away is that Oregon has 25 wins, while OSU only has 18, which is the fewest of any team in tournament that is not in a play-in game. If you look at just the records, this should be a 5 seed vs. 12 seed game.
The Ducks are coached by Dana Altman who has led the Ducks to four straight 20 win seasons. Oregon has won its first round matchup in the NCAA tournament the last two years, while OSU has lost in the first round the last two years. Altman’s success can be attributed to his fast-paced offensive that has produced 75.6 points per game this season.
Of the 10 players who played in the upset in 2013 for the Ducks, none are currently on roster. In comparison, OSU returns two of its five starters from the game, Le’Bryan Nash and Michael Cobbins.
Oregon is led by guard Joseph Young, a University of Houston transfer, who is one of the top scorers in the country, averaging 20.2 points per game. Young is one three Oregon players that are scoring more than 10 points per game, Elgin Cook (13.2) and Dillon Brooks (11.5) are the others.
Like the Cowboys, Oregon is a relatively small team with no regular players taller than 6-9. Jordan Bell is the Ducks leading rebounder with 6.1 per game, compared to the 5.9 Cobbins is bringing down every game.
The battle between Nash and Young will determine who wins this game. Whichever player scores more efficiently and leads their team better will earn a date with the 1-seed Wisconsin Badgers.