After getting OSU back into the NCAA Tournament in his first two years, Travis Ford has seen his teams slump in back-to-back seasons. What's behind the dropoff?
Roster regrets. When the Cowboys open play in the Big 12 Tournament Wednesday night, the end of the bench will tell a significant side of the story. In street clothes will be Darrell Williams, who is fighting legal issues, and three injured former starters: Jéan-Paul Olukemi, Le'Bryan Nash and Philip Jurick. OSU has been without Williams all season and without Olukemi throughout Big 12 play.
Class upheaval. There's nothing left of Ford's first recruiting class with a full year on the job, the 2009 class, which brought six players to Stillwater. All six — Torrin Walker, Jarred Shaw, Ray Penn, Roger Franklin, Fred Gulley and Reger Dowell — have transferred. None had the look of a difference maker, but the Cowboys could sure use the depth now.
Delayed rebuild. While many recall the recent glory days of OSU basketball, Ford didn't inherit a program on solid ground. The Cowboys were a combined 56-45 with no NCAA Tournament appearances in the three seasons before Ford's arrival. He did inherit some key players, which he turned into two NCAA Tournament teams, but a rebuild to some degree was probably inevitable. In this case, delayed.