OSU basketball sliding down the status scale
In Eddie Sutton’s 15 full seasons as the Oklahoma State basketball coach, the Cowboys went to 13 NCAA Tournaments. They missed out on the ’96 and ’97 NCAAs, and Sutton came back with gusto, producing a 2000 regional final team and a 2004 Final Four squad.
OSU’s basketball stock soared, and in some ways the Cowboys’ reputation still reaps the benefits. Here’s a fun way to rank NCAA basketball programs. Very simply, just rank schools by NCAA Tournament wins. Maybe there are better ways to do it, but there is no less-subjective way.
OSU is 37-21 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including 22-13 under Sutton. That ranks OSU No. 19 on this list. Heck, for fun, I’ll give you the list.
1. Kentucky 100-45; 2. UCLA 98-35; 3. North Carolina 96-39; 4. Duke 86-29; 5. Kansas 82-36.
6. Indiana 60-30; 7. Louisville 57-36; 8. Syracuse 48-31; 9. Georgetown 45-24; 10. Villanova 44-29.
11. Ohio State 43-23; 12. Michigan State 43-21; 13. Connecticut 42-27; 14. Arizona 41-26; 15. Michigan 41-19.
16. Arkansas 40-29; 17. Cincinnati 40-23; 18. Illinois 38-28; 19. Oklahoma State 37-21; 20. Maryland 36-21.
21. Utah 35-29; 22. Marquette 33-27; 23. UNLV 33-15; 24. Texas 32-29; 25. Oklahoma 32-25.
26. North Carolina State 32-21; 27. Temple 31-26; 28. Notre Dame 30-33; 29. Memphis 30-21; 30. Purdue 29-22.
I’ll stop there. That’s the top 30. It’s a fluid list. For instance, a school can jump way up the list with a Final Four run. OU probably could go from 25th to 20th with a Final Four run. UConn might go from 13th to eighth or ninth with a Final Four run.
But either way, it’s not a bad way to at least gauge historical basketball success. And Oklahoma State unquestionably has that.
But after a 99-75 loss at Texas on Tuesday night, the Cowboys seem sure to miss the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season, which frankly is difficult to do in these cartel days. The power conferences have all the, well, power, and if a school from the Big 12, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10 or Big East is missing March Madness on a regular basis, it has no one to blame but itself.
OSU hasn’t played an NCAA Tournament game since March 24, 2005, when Salim Stoudamire hit that shot and John Lucas’ desperation jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer, giving Arizona a 79-78 victory over OSU in that epic Sweet 16 thriller. Since that night, 122 schools have played NCAA Tournament games.
Think about that number. And here’s another. Since that night, 51 of the 73 schools in the six power leagues have played in the NCAA Tournament. And that number is about to grow, since teams like Wake Forest, Florida State, Arizona State, Missouri, South Carolina and Minnesota figure to end droughts this season.
It’s not crazy to see where come March, OSU might be one of just 15 power-conference schools to miss the last four NCAA Tournaments. That’s a major fall from where this program was not so long ago.
O-State once was a top-20 program, both historically and contemporary. The current status has fallen. The historical status could start to slip, too.
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