STILLWATER — Oklahoma State didn't have to wait long to find out its NCAA Tournament destination.
Less than five minutes into Sunday's selection show, the Cowboys popped up on the large TV screens inside the OSU locker room as the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region, with a second-round matchup against 12th-seeded Oregon on tap Thursday in San Jose, Calif.
There was no wild roar from the players gathered on the couches in front of the televisions. But there were claps and cheers, then another reaction when CBS analyst Greg Anthony called the Cowboys a sleeper in that bracket.
“It did shock me, (being called) right away,” coach Travis Ford said. “I didn't expect it that quick.”
Ford figured his Cowboys would be a No. 5 seed and had a hunch they would get sent to San Jose. But there was a bit of surprise surrounding OSU's opponent, an Oregon squad that finished tied for second in the Pac-12 regular-season standings and won the conference tournament over the weekend.
“You really don't need to say anything else,” Ford said. “They just won the Pac-12 championship.”
Immediately after the Cowboys' spot in the field of 68 was revealed, Ford pulled out his iPad to start researching the Ducks. Many players took to Twitter to express their immediate excitement, with Le'Bryan Nash posting “I like that everybody talking about our matchup #spotlight.”
Shortly after, Marcus Smart, the Cowboys' sparkplug and the Big 12 Player of the Year, spoke about a new season starting Thursday. About seeding and the past not mattering.
Then he started putting up shots on the Gallagher-Iba Arena floor.
Still, Selection Sunday provided a special moment for these Cowboys that are leading the program's resurgence but have never experienced the NCAA Tournament.
“It was … it was …” Nash said. “I can't talk right now, because I've never seen that before.”
Added Smart: “It was amazing. Just to go out there with this group of guys that I love, and just to see our name pop up on the screen and to be there to experience that with these players and these guys, it was just an incredible feeling for us.”