NCAA appearance: Guarded condition
The Cowboys returned to the Tournament for the first time since 2010, yet didn't even make it to the opening weekend. They were ousted in the first round in a poor performance. The expectation will be for another tournament run in 2014, although the height of those expectations depends on whether Marcus Smart and/or Markel Brown and/or Le'Bryan Nash return or jump to the NBA.
March Madness: Guarded condition
Just as OSU fans were buzzing about their team's turnaround season and their NCAA Tournament chances, they had their dance card revoked. The Cowboys' postseason existence was snuffed out by the early moments of the second half against Oregon, if not earlier. It'll be interesting to see if that comes with any carry-over effect.
Attendance: Stable condition
There's been much made of the “Thunder Effect” and its impact on college hoops in our state. But the Oklahoma City pro team's arrival coincided with OSU's on-court downturn. In this state, winning is everything. And when the Cowboys started really winning this season, the rowdy returned, with sellouts and near-capacity crowds.
Recruiting: Full health
The Cowboys have help on the way, with a class of five signees that is tied for No. 23 in the Scout.com team rankings. Four-star guards Stephen Clark and Detrick Mostella are scorers and shooters who should provide a boost to the offense. Leyton Hammonds, a 6-9 forward, is a three-star prospect coming off a super senior season in Texas. There's some size in the class, too, with 6-10 center Gary Gaskins, a junior college transfer.
TV ratings: Stable condition
Similar to attendance, winning drives television ratings. Once established this season, the Cowboys carried solid appeal, drawing a 7.6 average rating for their two Big 12 Tournament games, following a 6.1 rating for the regular season finale against Kansas State and generally respectable viewing audiences from January on.
Big Monday factor: Full health
With some of the more exciting players in the Big 12 — led by the conference Player of the Year in Smart — the Cowboys became one of the fun teams to watch in the league. Their games against Kansas were among the league's best all season. There were great finishes, too, with overtime wins over Iowa State and OU among nine games decided by two possessions.