NORMAN — One mystery solved. The NCAA selection committee can cross off the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Another mystery awaits. Will Jeff Capel be back as the Oklahoma Sooner coach?
That's what was culled Saturday from a Bedlam basketball game lacking in talent, relevance and atmosphere, though not competitive spirit.
Cade Davis said sayonara to Sooner fans with 22 points, Cowboy Reger Dowell missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left and OU beat OSU 64-61 at Lloyd Noble Center.
Bedlam once meant Sutton vs. Tubbs. Big Country vs. Ryan Minor. Mason vs. Najera. Big Monday and national attention and Dick Vitale.
Saturday, the crowd numbered 7,734 fans, and the most excited guy in the building was Mickael Pietrus, who sat courtside with some Phoenix Suns teammates and danced and clapped and laughed like it was field-trip day.
Bedlam hoops this season is marked not by what these teams accomplished, but by what they didn't.
OSU finished winless on the Big 12 road, and at 18-12 overall, 6-10 in the conference, can safely extinguish all NCAA hopes.
This was not a stellar coaching job by Travis Ford. He borrowed from Capel's book and built a team around some questionable characters. Darrell Williams (sexual assault charge) and Ray Penn (bad attitude) have been suspended. And the guys who are left should be better than what they are.
“Our guys don't play up to our potential,” said OSU senior Marshall Moses, one of the few Cowboys who do, witness his 16 points and nine rebounds. “We've got really good offensive weapons, regardless of how it seems.”
Same old story Saturday. Bad shooting (40.4 percent, despite 17 of OSU's 21 baskets coming on layups or dunks). Horrible ball security (17 turnovers).
“Chemistry hasn't been good,” Ford said. “We've got guys that maybe have the reputation for being scorers, but when you get in a system where maybe you're not the main guy ... we never found a lot of good mixes out there.”
That's on the coach. Ford recruited the guys who let the team down and failed to mesh the others.
Of course, Ford did a superb job his first two seasons reviving OSU fortunes, so he's got some markers.
Not so with Capel. This is the second straight dud OU basketball season. Do you know how hard it is for a self-respecting program to go 13-18 and 13-17 back-to-back? That takes some doing.
My stance has been consistent. I would replace Capel, for failure to monitor. The fan base doesn't seem to care anymore, OU's two worst conference records of the last 30 years are these last two seasons and there's no reason to hope for a quick upgrade.
The best that can be said about Capel is that this team didn't quit on him. It certainly had the chance.
After Texas Tech's 84-58 rout Wednesday night, you wondered how the Sooners would respond.
We found out. The Sooners came out inspired. Took a 13-2 lead, and even after OSU rallied for a 33-32 halftime lead, OU quickly regained the lead and held it for all but 27 seconds of the final 17 1/2 minutes.
“They have fought and competed all year long,” Capel said. “Take the Texas Tech game away, every game we've competed at a high level. We've been overmatched at times, but I don't think we've been outworked.”
That comes a year too late to keep Capel out of the doghouse. But a Bedlam loss most certainly would have increased the volume of disgust bending athletic director Joe Castiglione's ear, for the precious few who still care.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.