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OSU coach Travis Ford knows Cowboy Country expects much more for 2012-13

Missouri routed OSU 88-70 Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals, bringing to a merciful end the Cowboys' first losing season in 24 years.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 8, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The game was close for, oh, about four minutes. Not 40. Four.

OSU basketball standards have fallen far. But not that far.

Not far enough that the Cowboys can come to the Big 12 Tournament, get embarrassed and everyone in orange says, oh well, at least spring football starts next week.

Missouri routed OSU 88-70 Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals, bringing to a merciful end the Cowboys' first losing season in 24 years.

OSU never has demanded Final Fours, even when Eddie Sutton was good for one a decade. Never demanded Big 12 titles. Don't even demand NCAA Tournaments anymore.

But Cowboy Country will demand more than this. Will demand that OSU basketball at least be competitive on winter nights. Will demand that a program that once swung a big stick in Kansas City not get run out of the Sprint Center before the first TV timeout.

Yes, the schedule was brutal and the injuries were worse. But the schedule was manageable last season and the injuries light, and State still went 6-10 in the league.

Two dud seasons in a row is about the limit at OSU.

Travis Ford knows it. And he says no worries. Optimism reigns for 2012-13.

“We've got some young guys who experienced a lot, performed at high levels at certain times,” Ford said. “The last couple of months have gotten people excited.”

Maybe inside the program. Outside the program, it's more wait-and-see. With homage to the victor Thursday night, it's a show-me attitude.

“Hopefully the adversity can help us become a top-10 team next year,” said freshman Le'Bryan Nash, who missed the final five games with a broken hand. “We're just building. Next year will be when we get back on top the basketball world.”

The adversity made for a kooky season. OSU's young talent got the chance to shine initially because of defections. The Cowboys were hard to watch in December, but by season's end were entertaining – even in the rout Thursday night, Brian Williams and Markel Brown were making acrobatic plays, and Keiton Page's shooting was as deadly as ever.

But when injuries arrived, the depth was shot because of the defections. Vicious circle.

“If our schedule had been right and we had stayed healthy, it would have been different,” Ford said. “That's how I look at it.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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