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Big 12 baseball: Cowboys have had their share of ups and downs

OSU still has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament by playing strong from now through Big 12 Championships.
BY JOHN HELSLEY Published: May 16, 2012

Frank Anderson reflected sentimentally on this season and this Oklahoma State ball club and the hit-and-miss journey of the past three months.

And still with another key stage to go – beginning with this weekend's showdown series against No. 10-ranked Texas A&M, opening Thursday night in Stillwater – it was a telling take on a trying season that's featured sluggish starts and redemptive rallies, players in trouble and players prevailing, critics rising and retreating.

Through it all, the Cowboys have come together.

“You don't enjoy being around every team,” Anderson said. “A coach can tell you that, but it's not always true.

“This is a good group of guys.”

How much longer they'll enjoy each other's company, however, could ride on this weekend, which offers intriguing story lines across the Big 12.

In any of the major polls, as many as five conference teams are ranked, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State among them.

And yet the talk nationally pegs this as a down year for the conference. And the Cowboys and Sooners could suffer.

With the Big 12 Tournament on deck next week, here's a look at what the final regular-season weekend offers, with games scheduled Thursday-Saturday:

Who's No. 2?

Three teams – OSU, A&M and Texas – are currently tied for second at 13-8 in league play, behind already crowned champion Baylor.

The Cowboys and Aggies go head-to-head the next three days at Reynolds Stadium, settling at least their roles in the race. In another major clash, the Longhorns face Baylor in a series split between Waco and Austin.

While the Bears have the title clinched, they'll be motivated. Partly, because it's Texas. And partly because they're coming off a three-game sweep at OU and a late-season swoon is the one thing that could put a damper on a special year.

No team needs to finish second more than the Cowboys, whose lagging RPI makes them a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament.

About Those RPIs…

We hear about the RPI – Ratings Percentage Index – all the time with college basketball.

But the complex tool is crucial, too, for the NCAA selection committee in choosing its 64-team field for the Road To Omaha.

Because of their RPIs, neither the Sooners (No. 48) nor Cowboys (No. 78) are locks for the postseason. Not yet anyway, although OU gave itself a major boost with the sweep of then-No. 2 Baylor.

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