ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla will call the Bedlam basketball game at 1 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater with Jon Sciambi. Fraschilla discussed the teams and the Big 12 in a phone interview Thursday.
How do you rate OSU's chances of getting in the NCAA Tournament?
It's touch and go right now obviously until Marcus Smart gets back. I'm thinking if they get to at least eight (conference wins) or to 9-9, they are in the tournament. If they to eight wins going into the Big 12 Tournament, they will have plenty of opportunity to win some games and play their way back into contention. I expect that they will rally at the end and play their way into the NCAA Tournament. Along those lines, I have a funny feeling about this Bedlam game because I have a sense the stars may align for the home team Saturday. At least in the last decade, I haven't seen a rivalry with the home-court advantage so pronounced as in this Bedlam series.
Is this game a ‘must win' for OSU?
It is. Oklahoma is coming off their most dismal performance of the season Wednesday night. So the psychology of this game is going to be very interesting. One team has its absolute back to the wall and the other team is coming off a performance that they would like to forget but at the same time may linger for a few days. That's the beauty of dealing with teenagers.
How much will Marcus Smart's three-game suspension for the fan incident hurt his draft status?
I've talked to a number of NBA people recently. I don't think it's going to be hurt very much. ... To me, Marcus' greatest strength is also at times his greatest weakness, which is his ubercompetitiveness. What separates him from every other player in the country is his desire to win, but at the same time it's something that occasionally gets him in trouble because he has got to able to channel the energy when things don't go his way. I sense he is going to finish the season strong, put the Cowboys back in contention for an NCAA bid and make the Big 12 tournament really interesting. ... I still think he's going to be one of the top five, six, seven players in the NBA Draft. If you want to criticize him for being ultracompetitive, go ahead. But I always found as a coach, I would rather calm a guy down, then to check his pulse rate. Actually, I'm the guy who coached Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) in college (St. John's). I have a knowledge of having coached a guy who is ubercompetitive.
Since your son James Fraschilla is an OU reserve guard, do OSU fans accuse you of being a OU homer?
I told my son when he starts paying my salary, I'll be an OU homer. Until that time I call it exactly the way I see it. Usually the comments are right down the middle — equal opportunity dislike for my comments — and that means I'm being fair.
Is the Big 12 showing more balance this season?
I don't know that if any other team besides Kansas can win the Big 12 Tournament, but I definitely think that nine of the 10 teams are good enough to get to the Big 12 final. ... We're watching West Virginia and Texas Tech improve rapidly in conference play, and it's made this by far the deepest and most balanced major conference in the country.
How many Big 12 teams will make it to the NCAA tourney?
Well, I think it's a lock that five will make it with an outside chance that a sixth team could make it. It could be an Oklahoma State, a West Virginia on the rise. When all is said and down, the strength of the conference overall, especially in terms of the RPI, I think it's going to give at least six of the 10 excellent opportunities to get to the NCAA Tournament.