By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Might as well scribble 25 schools on a piece of scratch paper, toss them in a hat and start randomly selecting.
Because come Monday afternoon, when the latest college hoops rankings come out, your guess is as good as mine. We’re in for a significant shakeup, especially near the top. But that’s about the only thing we know for certain.
College basketball has been taking some heat recently for what some perceive as a bogged down style of play that’s hurt its watchability. And at times that’s hard to argue (like when Texas is firing up unanswered prayers after 30 seconds of pointless wandering).
But the late-game drama, court storming and wild upsets remain. Case in point, this past week.
Fourteen ranked teams went down, five falling twice. The number one team lost for a fifth consecutive week. And four of the top five teams tumbled.
Like never before, the country’s talent is spread and parity reigns. Come tournament time, brackets are going to be a mess. At this point, you could probably convince me of about 30 schools (maybe more) having ‘Final Four potential.’
And one of those would be Oklahoma State. Fourteen days ago, that statement would have sounded ridiculous. But Travis Ford’s talented bunch (winners of five straight conference games) continues to improve.
And come 1 p.m. Monday, we could be talking about a top-15 team.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at what the teams ahead of them did this week:
- Indiana – lost once (at Illinois)
- Florida – lost once (at Arkansas)
- Michigan – lost once (at Wisconsin)
- Kansas – lost twice (at TCU, at OU)
- Arizona – lost once (vs California)
- Ohio State – lost twice (at Michigan, vs Indiana)
- Louisville – lost once (at Notre Dame)
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- New Mexico – lost once (to UNLV)
- Creighton – lost twice (at Indiana State, at Illinois State)
- Cincinnati – lost twice (at Providence, vs Pittsburgh)
- Minnesota – lost twice (at Michigan State, at Illinois)
- Oregon – lost once (at Colorado)
- Missouri – lost once (at Texas A&M)
- Oklahoma State
- Notre Dame – lost once (at Syracuse)
Let me break it down quickly:
-Teams the Cowboys should jump (6): Missouri, Oregon, Minnesota, Cincinnati, New Mexico and Creighton.
-Teams the Cowboys should remain behind (13): Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Duke, Gonzaga, Arizona, Miami, Syracuse, Louisville, Michigan State, Kansas State, Butler and Georgetown
That would put OSU somewhere in the 14-16 range, provided nobody jumps them from behind (which I wouldn’t expect, considering the Cowboys had two solid wins this week).
And personally, if I put together a poll, OSU would hop Kansas (can’t overlook a TCU loss during this two-defeat week) but remain behind Ohio State (both losses were to top-10 teams).
That would put them in the 15 slot of my ‘nobody cares what I think’ poll.
For comparison, here’s CBS recently released version. They’ve got the Cowboys at 17, behind Kansas (at #10 still?!?) and Pittsburgh.