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John Rohde: A free pass to the NCAA

By John Rohde Modified: February 28, 2010 at 7:04 am •  Published: February 28, 2010
STILLWATER — Cease and desist all bubble discussion concerning Oklahoma State.

With the final week of the regular season approaching, one outcome would end all doubt and move the Cowboys convincingly off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament.

That result came Saturday afternoon with a bubblicious 85-77 victory over No. 1-ranked Kansas inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

It matters not what OSU does at Texas A&M on Wednesday or against Nebraska in the season finale on Saturday — though losing to the Cornhuskers would be more than a tad embarrassing under the circumstances.

The Cowboys (20-8; 8-6) are in the NCAA Tournament. Saturday’s victory sealed the deal. Finishing 9-7 in league play has now become a far more reasonable expectation, but finishing 8-8 will still be good enough to earn a bid.

There’s a world of difference between simply being 8-8 in league play, and being 8-8 with a victory over the nation’s top-ranked team.

OSU’s power ranking (No. 29 in was going to rise simply by playing the Jayhawks, and it will rise even more because of the win.

The Cowboys were convincing victors. They led by double-digits from the 8:29 mark of the first half until 3:12 remained in the game. KU managed to cut its deficit to six with 1:16 remaining, but the outcome was never in doubt after halftime.

Pending Big 12 player of the year James Anderson had 27 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Obi Muonelo had 17 points and Keiton Page had 15 points and missed one shot (5 for 6 from the floor).

Self said he "doesn’t see a lot of teams beating” the Cowboys if the Big Three plays as well as it did Saturday. "They’ve got something going that would give anybody problems,” Self said.

Matt Pilgrim and Marshall Moses figuratively were perfect. Pilgrim was 8-for-8 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line, finishing with 18 points and six rebounds. Moses was 4 for 4 from the field, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds.