KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Cowboys’ NCAA Tournament resume is complete, and now they’ll have to wait and see whether it is good enough.
Oklahoma State lost to Texas 61-47 on Thursday in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament. It was another horrid shooting outing for the Pokes.
Here are five thoughts from the game.
1. More Ugly Offense
Oklahoma State’s best offense in the first half was Caleb Asberry pump-faking and jumping into his defender. That worked twice and garnered OSU six points — or 23% of the Cowboys’ first-half points.
Meanwhile the Cowboys got called for a pair of 10-second violations for not getting the ball past halfcourt within 10 seconds. To an extent, that’s not even something the players should have to be told to do. It’s been that way for them since elementary school. Those were two of the Pokes’ 11 first-half turnovers. The Cowboys had looked better in the turnover department, not committing more than 12 in the past four games, but they relapsed and finished with 20 on Thursday.
And then the second half started, where OSU started 0-for-10 from the field and failed to score a point for the first 6:19 of the half.
This is the second time the Cowboys have scored in the 40s this season with both of those instances coming against this long, athletic Texas team.
2. Kalib Boone’s Weird Season Encapsulated in One Game
Kalib Boone scored in double figures Thursday after a three-game stretch in which he scored just nine total points.
Boone’s year has been weird. At times, he has looked like the best player in the Big 12. Then there are stretches where he struggles to stay on the floor with fouls and cold streaks.
The first half Thursday was a continuation of his most recent cold streak, but then he seemed to find himself again in the second half.
He scored no points in the first half and was 0-for-3 from the field. His three misses were all around the rim. One was with his left hand, but the other two, which came one after the other, were two shots you’d expect him to make.
Then he came out in the second half and scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting — even hitting a 3 — and had eight rebounds (he finished with 11 total rebounds). He nearly got OSU back into the game. Texas led by 18 with 11:10 to play but the lead got worked down to nine with 2:47 to go.
Boone’s boom or bust is one of many puzzling things about this team.
“Honestly, I would just say that like the last few weeks, I haven’t really been a consistent version of myself for my teammates,” Boone said. “So I made a decision at halftime, and it was kind of too late, that I was just going to be more assertive. I was trying to demand the ball and trying be to aggressive on the glass and just do something for my teammates, and that’s what my mindset was.”
3. This Team Didn’t Look Like a Tournament Team This Week
Putting aside whether the Cowboys actually make the NCAA Tournament, they haven’t looked like an NCAA Tournament team the past two days in Kansas City.
The Pokes have scored just 52 points per game in the conference tournament while shooting 31% from the field and 20% from 3.
You can find the spin that OSU has played well defensively, holding OU and UT to 55 points per game and 31% field-goal shooting, and that would be true to an extent. But the Cowboys’ offense has been so lifeless these last two games that if this was the only Oklahoma State basketball you saw this season, you wouldn’t think this is a team good enough to play in the national tournament.
It’s a weird spot to be in. Could OSU’s resume warrant an NCAA Tournament bid? Yes, absolutely. Should there be complaints if they don’t make it? No, I don’t think so.
“Obviously we didn’t play very well, and that goes without saying,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said after the Texas loss. “Obviously we played poorly on a day where we really, you know, needed to play much better.”
4. But the Bubble Did OSU Some Favors
Despite missing 3s like Willy Wonka misses his dentist appointments, the Cowboys could still find their way into the Big Dance with how the bubble shook out Thursday. Teams presumed behind OSU, per Joe Lunardi, have been losing.
Here is a look at Lunardi’s bubble from Wednesday night and how things are going:
|NC State||Won vs. Virginia Tech||In progress vs. Clemson|
|Boise State||In progress vs. UNLV|
|Pitt||Won vs. Georgia Tech||Loss vs. Duke|
|Mississippi State||Win vs. Florida|
|Penn State||Win vs. Illinois|
|Rutgers||Win vs. Michigan|
|Oklahoma State||Won vs. Oklahoma||Loss to Texas|
|Utah State||vs. New Mexico at 10:30 p.m.|
|Arizona State||Won vs. Oregon State||vs. USC at 10:30 p.m.|
|Nevada||Loss vs. San Jose State|
|North Carolina||Won vs. Boston College||Loss vs. Virginia|
|Wisconsin||Lost vs. Ohio State|
|Michigan||Loss vs. Rutgers|
|Clemson||In progress vs. NC State|
|Oregon||Win vs. Washington State|
So, are you an Oklahoma State fan hoping your team hears its name on Sunday? Cheer for UNLV, New Mexico, USC and NC State. Hope and pray that a team well out of the field doesn’t win a conference tournament and steal a spot. And maybe, just maybe, OSU will get in despite this bad offensive performance in Kansas City.
5. So, Did the Cowboys Do Enough?
If the Cowboys were on the bubble any harder, they be floating around a child’s birthday party on a hot July day.
Entering Thursday, ESPN’s Lunardi had the Cowboys just in the field. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm had the Cowboys just out of the field. Those two have their jobs for a reason, but they still aren’t on the NCAA Tournament’s selection committee. Those are the thoughts that matter.
That dang Southern Illinois loss. It’s a Quad 3 loss. Without it, the Pokes’ resume is somewhat on par with Iowa State and West Virginia, two teams considered comfortably in the field. Here are the three resumes compared with one another entering Thursday.
|NET Ranking||Team||Record||Quad 1||Quad 2||Quad 3||Quad 4|
So why is OSU 21 spots behind those two despite finishing between them in the Big 12 and having as many Quad 1 wins as West Virginia? That dang Quad 3 loss that happened in November.
But because of that loss, we’ll all have to wait and see. The last time OSU had to wait and see like this was Boynton’s first year when Trae Young’s OU team go in over the Cowboys.
“I thought we did enough coming into the tournament to be perfectly honest,” Boynton said. “I mean, this league presents challenges that, I’ve been in several others, that no other league does. And I think it’s historically good this year. It’s not just a good league and not just a league that is better than the others, but it’s far and away better than the other leagues. And with all due respect, because there’s really good basketball around the country, but to get eight wins in this conference, three in a row, three sweeps, to play the schedule we played overall is a testament to the character of these guys. I think we certainly deserve inclusion into the event.”