NORMAN – This college basketball season teaches us why they shoot horses. Some things just need to be put out of their misery.
Bedlam basketball Part II convenes Wednesday night in Lloyd Noble Center, and what once was one of the state's biggest sporting nights will be greeted with a yawn.
Losing will do that to you. The Sooners are 13-13, the Cowboys 13-14.
Worse yet, OSU and OU once stood with Texas as worthy foes to Kansas supremacy in the Big 12. Now OU is 3-11 in the conference and 12-34 in Big 12 games the last three seasons. OSU is 6-8 in the conference after going 6-10 a year ago.
Is this the price our state's sporting crowd must pay for its bounty? Do two big-time football programs and an NBA dream team mean the college hoops have to stink?
Maybe not. Hopefully not. Please, basketball providence, say it ain't so.
Truth is, we took those glorious winters of yesteryear a little for granted. That quarter century of Billy Tubbs and Kelvin Sampson, with the Blake Griffin topper, producing elite basketball in Soonerville. That 15-year run of Eddie Sutton that transformed Cowboy Country.
Promise we won't do that again. Get back to competitive basketball, entertaining basketball, dare we say championship basketball, and we'll appreciate it.
But will we get that chance? Can the Cowboys or Sooners find their way back to the roundball map?
There are reasons to think so. The validity of those reasons probably depends on your level of general life optimism, but at least there are seeds of hope.
In Stillwater, the young core. OSU actually has a pulse, having won three of its last four winnable games (at Kansas, at Missouri don't count).
The 40-point man, Keiton Page, is a senior, but Travis Ford is playing five freshmen, plus sophomore whiz Markel Brown.
“We all wish we were sitting here 25-4, sure,” said Ford. “But this is a foundation. Anytime you have a team like we have that overachieves, performs the way we've performed, I do call it a success.”
Well, success seems to be an overstatement. But the Cowboys are playing much better. Ford's roster was gutted by injury, defections and legal issues, and he deserves blame for the latter two. Watch who you recruit.
Still, the bare-bones rotation has identified the guys who can play and who want to. That's a big change from earlier in the year.