Here Comes No. 1
By John Helsley
Bill Self readies for another return to Stillwater. Yet in a stark departure from the past, that’s not the prominent story line for Saturday’s KU-Cowboys clash.
You’ve got OSU in search of securing an NCAA Tournament bid, something a win over the Jayhawks would all but clinch.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Cowboys true combo guard Keiton Page said.
You’ve got the Jayhawks lugging the nation’s No. 1 ranking, making them the first top-ranked team to invade Gallagher-Iba since 1989. For perspective on that rarity, consider this:
“I was born in 1989,” OSU star James Anderson said.
And you’ve got Anderson and KU’s Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich all in the thick of the Big 12 Player of the Year race, with Saturday perhaps serving as a separator.
Then you’ve got self, who played at OSU and graduated at OSU and depending on who you believe, was all set to coach at OSU before working out a massive extension to remain in Lawrence, spurring Cowboys athletic director Mike Holder to openly admit being broken hearted nearly two years ago.
Of course, OSU ultimately went another direction, hiring Travis Ford, who’s job of reshaping and recasting the Cowboys is ongoing.
And now, as Self returns to his alma mater for the first time since that 2008 courting, the emotional connection seems to have subsided — for now — on both sides.
Both have more pressing matters; a Big 12 championship for Self; a big win for the Cowboys.
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