OSU basketball: Cowboys are a sleeper team, but are also on upset alert

Fifth-seeded Oklahoma State gets a tough 12 seed in Oregon to open the NCAA Tournament. The Cowboys are favored by many to make a run in the tournament, but that draw makes it tougher.
by John Helsley Published: March 18, 2013

Of Oregon's eight losses, half came when point guard Dominic Artis missed nine games with an injured foot. Oh, and he's back, and was there directing the Ducks to the Pac-12 Tournament title.

The good news for these Cowboys is that they're so new to March Madness — no Cowboy has played a second in an NCAA Tournament game — that it's all good; all the better the way Le'Bryan Nash looks at it.

“A lot of people are talking about us playing Oregon,” Nash said. “I love the spotlight. That's what the analysts are going to talk about. I think that everybody knows that Oregon deserves a better seed.

“It's going to be a great matchup. I can't wait to play.”

And should the Cowboys win, it only gets tougher.

Saint Louis, a likely matchup in the round of 32, won the Atlantic 10 regular season and conference titles, beating Butler and VCU a combined five times during a 15-1 run into Madness.

And then there are the heavyweights.

No. 1 overall seed Louisville is also in the Midwest. So is Duke. And Michigan State.

And more upset specialists, it figures.

Again, the Cowboys don't seem to care.

They beat every team in the Big 12 at least once. They beat one NCAA No. 1 seed in Kansas and lost to another, Gonzaga, by one point. They played in close games and overtime games and went 7-2 in games decided by two possessions or fewer, often rallying from behind late.

“Pressure busts pipes, or it makes diamonds. That's what I've always been told,” said OSU's Marcus Smart. “The pressure that we won those games under, it made a diamond out of us.

“We learned from those games. And it gave us the confidence we have going into this tournament.”

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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Midwest musings

The bracket is filled and the regions have been analyzed.

It's all but unanimous: the Midwest Region — where Oklahoma State resides — is a monster.

Here's what they're saying:

“(No. 1 seed) Louisville's reward is a date in the Midwest Region, which apparently was set up by the masochistic dentist who is sidelining on the selection committee.” — ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil

“The first thing we learned from the Selection Show was that Louisville is the No. 1 overall seed. The next thing we learned is that Louisville has a tough path to Atlanta. The top overall seed got Duke as its No. 2 seed. And Michigan State as its No. 3 seed. And Saint Louis as its No. 4 seed. Whoa, buddy.” — CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish

“Selection committee chairman Mike Bobinski said Oregon would have been one seed line higher were it not for scheduling issues that forced the Ducks to drop from a No. 11 seed to a No. 12. Fine, but that solves nothing here. Oregon should have been four or five seed lines higher, and it's a disservice to the Ducks and to Oklahoma State that they're a No. 12 seed instead.” — Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Eisenberg

“Oregon as a No. 12 seed is laughable. The Ducks were the conference's best team before taking a small slide because of a foot injury to starting guard Dominic Artis. The freshman eventually returned and Oregon finished second in the conference, one game back of champion UCLA — the team it beat (for the second time) in Saturday's Pac-12 Tournament tilt. The Ducks also boast a win against UNLV. Oregon should have been a No. 7 or 8 seed, at worst.” — ESPN.com's Jason King

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