STILLWATER — The Cowboys seem to be in a good spot to make the NCAA Tournament, but they still have some work to do.
Oklahoma State travels to Fort Worth this weekend for a game against TCU that tips at 1 p.m. Saturday. OSU coach Mike Boynton met with the media on Thursday to preview the matchup. Here are three things that stood out.
Rebounding from a Letdown
The Cowboys rode a five-game win streak into GIA on Tuesday in front of their biggest home crowd of the season against Kansas, but the game didn’t go their way.
OSU fell to KU 87-76. The Cowboys went into that game playing as confidently as they have all season. Saturday we’ll see whether that confidence has been shaken.
“I feel like they’re in a good place,” Boynton said. “There was a level of disappointment in the locker room. I don’t sugarcoat a whole lot — we didn’t play well enough to beat a team like that, certainly on the defensive end. They owned it. They get it, but there’s no lingering dejection. We’ve done a lot of heavy lifting over the last couple weeks and feel confident that we can get ourselves back on track here, not that it’s gonna be easy going on the road, especially the road swing we’ve got. But the guys are in a good place mentally.”
Mike Miles Reportedly Set to Make Return against Pokes
Mike Miles, the Big 12’s Preseason Player of the Year, went down with a hyperextended knee after playing just four minutes in TCU’s Big 12-SEC Challenge game against Mississippi State on Jan. 28. He hasn’t played since, and since then, the Horned Frogs have gone 1-5.
During the broadcast of TCU’s 70-59 loss to Iowa State on Wednesday, it was mentioned that Miles would be back for TCU’s game against OSU on Saturday. Miles tweeted before Wednesday’s game that he will be back when he is “fully ready to go.“
Boynton said his team is preparing like the Horned Frog’s best players are going to play. Miles averages a team-best 18.1 points a game for TCU.
“He’s the Preseason Player of the Year in the league for a reason,” Boynton said. “He’s a guy who has been the head of the snake for them for his entire career there. He raises the level of play for everybody else. He takes pressure off those guys having to make plays for themselves all the time. But it’s not like he’s a guy who shoots 30 balls a game. He plays the game the right way. I could very well see him playing 30 minutes and taking six or seven shots, maybe. It’s not like he’s gonna come in and try to become something he’s not. He’s a well-rounded player. He’s gonna take what you give him, but I think he boosts the morale and confidence of the other guys, which obviously [makes] them really, really dangerous.”
The Curious Case of Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena
Mike Boynton has won in Allen Fieldhouse. He owns Hilton Coliseum. He has two of OSU’s three wins in Lloyd Noble Center since the Eddie Sutton era. But somehow, he has never won in TCU’s Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.
It’s the only Big 12 venue he hasn’t won in (unless you count UT’s new Moody Center, but Boynton won in the old arena). He is 0-5 against the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth.
“I’ve never won in there,” Boynton said. “I’m well aware of that. And to be honest, I don’t know how many times we’ve actually played well in my time here down there. I’ve been on the bench for a win; it was obviously my year as an assistant. But I’m aware of it. I don’t know if there’s a magic deal to it. There’s certain plays in each of the games that I vividly remember.”
One of those plays came in Boynton’s second season as OSU’s head man (2018-19). JD Miller hit a game-winner at the buzzer to give TCU a 70-68 win … but it was actually a little before the buzzer. The Horned Frogs bench dogpiled on Miller. The Cowboys went back to the locker room, but after the officials looked at the monitor they put 0.2 second back on the clock. Boynton had to get five players back on the floor just to throw the ball in.
“It’s like cruel and unusual punishment,” Boynton said. “It’s like double jeopardy. We go out, we inbound the ball and we go through the handshake line again. I’ve got one more L in there than you even know about.”