OSU basketball: Cowboys still on bubble
I know you don’t want to hear it. I know you think it’s absurd. But it’s the truth. Oklahoma State remains in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth.
And you’re right. It is absurd.
But Jerry Palm, who projects the NCAA bracket for cbssportsline.com, has OSU one of the last four teams out of the 68-team field. The 18-11 Cowboys, 6-9 in the Big 12 with nary a road victory, remain a contender because of the watered-down nature of the NCAA Tournament. Mediocre teams coupled with an expanded field mean some invitation to teams not necessarily deserving.
Here are some reasons OSU isn’t out of the running:
* Within the context of the Big 12, here are the RPI rankings of the teams below Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Missouri.
RPI ratings are not the be-all end-all. They are just a small part of the equation. But RPI is used by the selection committee. And the differences between OSU and its other Big 12 contenders is vast.
* OSU’s non-conference schedule is paying off. The Cowboys didn’t play a great non-conference schedule. By no means. But the Cowboys played nine decent games before the Big 12. DePaul, Virginia Tech and Murray State in that Anaheim, Calif., tournament; at LaSalle and Tulsa; Alabama in Oklahoma City; home against Missouri State (the Missouri Valley’s best team) and Stanford; and at Gonzaga.
Baylor played five decent teams in non-conference.
* The schedule sets up for the Cowboys to keep climbing. If OSU can win Saturday at OU, it would negate one of the big criticisms, that OSU hasn’t won a conference road game. Follow Bedlam with a victory over another bubble-type team (Colorado, Baylor or Nebraska) in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, and OSU would 20-11 going into a quarterfinal game against Kansas.
Good luck with the Jayhawks, but OSU might be right on the verge at that point. Might not need an upset of KU to get invited.
Crazy. I know. But welcome to college basketball 2011.
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