KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A potential Bedlam semifinal in the Big 12 men's basketball tournament never materialized, thanks to Texas eliminating Oklahoma State 66-59 in Friday's opening quarterfinal game.
As a group of Cowboys exited the floor inside the Sprint Center, an Oklahoma fan chanted "N-I-T. N-I-T,” followed by "How does it feel?”
This was meant as an insult, of course.
But given where OSU was one month ago, it qualifies as a compliment.
In mid-February, the Cowboys were 11-12 overall, 2-7 in Big 12 play and headed nowhere.
Sean Sutton's days as coach were numbered and OSU fans were sharing their wish lists of his successor.
Then a five-game winning streak quickly healed some wounds.
There was hope for the Cowboys and life for Sutton.
Even though OSU dropped three of its last four games, a 17-15 overall record figures to be good enough to receive an NIT bid.
As for Sutton's future, that's still up in the air.
When money is no object — and it's not when it comes to contract negotiations via Boone Pickens — all bets are off in terms of someone's job security.
At this stage, however, OSU athletic director Mike Holder would have more explaining to do if he fired Sutton than if he kept Sutton.
Thursday's 76-72 opening-round victory over Texas Tech guaranteed Sutton a winning record.
Exactly what that means, heck, who knows?
The Cowboys were competitive in every league game they lost early, other than a 21-point loss at Kansas State.
But coaches don't get contract extensions on near-wins.
Then came a five-game redemption that consisted of four underdog victories, including one over No. 4 Kansas in Stillwater.
OSU finally showed it could finish games rather than just simply hang around.
The Cowboys saw what they were capable of doing.
When something like that happens, is a player happy about his team's progress, or infuriated it took so long to reach its potential?
"It makes you mad,” junior point guard Byron Eaton said.