STILLWATER — Saturday’s 82-75 victory over Baylor figures to move Oklahoma State off the NCAA Tournament bubble.
That’s the way Cowboys coach Travis Ford sees it. Not that he’s talking about it, at least not to his players. Ford doesn’t want any bubble chat.
Whether the OSU players actually pay heed to their coach is up for debate.
"Everybody knows we’re going to see the ESPN talk, but coach Ford tells us not to concentrate on that,” sophomore point guard Keiton Page said. "He keeps it quiet.”
Ford readily admits he constantly deciphers what it will take for the Cowboys to make the NCAA Tournament, so why can’t his players?
"They’re doing it on their own, you know that,” Ford said with a smile, "but we have not talked about it one ... single ... time.”
Ford pounded the table for each word when saying "one ... single ... time.”
"Not once have we talked about anything remotely, because it’s not about that with this team,” Ford said. "This time last year, we talked about it every day with our team — every day. We talked about where we were, what we might need to do and how it would be great to make the tournament because you had guys who had never made it sitting in that locker room last year.”
But Saturday’s win gets you off the bubble, right?
"Oh, I think so, yeah,” Ford said, drawing laughter.
Baylor (20-6; 7-5) is viewed as a solid NCAA Tournament team, probably somewhere around a No. 6 or No. 7 seed. With Saturday’s victory, OSU (19-7; 7-5) now has the exact same Big 12 record as the Bears.
The Cowboys might have the same conference record, but these two teams are not in the same stratosphere in terms of potency.
OSU is simply trying to get into the tournament. Baylor is wondering how far it’ll advance in the tournament.
The Bears are looooong
with a starting lineup that goes 7-foot, 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-10.