Daily Bullets
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Budke update: as you can see by the thermometer update to the right, the checks are still rolling in via snail mail. We’re up to $853 with three checks that I know of still floating around out there. Hopefully I can find one of those massive checks they hand out at halftime of basketball games to send to Salina next week. Not sure how you get one of those babies in the mailbox though… Is Andrew Heaney the best pitcher in the country? (NewsOK) Really interesting info on how money from the NCAA Tourney and BCS games is divided up. (ESPN) “I haven’t watched ESPN since the Fiesta Bowl.” (Tulsa World) Love the headline, don’t love where OSU is. (Golf Digest) Is Anthony Slater running the Oklahoman now? Good Q&A with Joseph Randle. Didn’t know he was boys with Blake Bell. (NewsOK) Interesting take on the “Gift of a Lifetime” debacle. I’m still formulating mine, mostly because it feels like there’s more to the story… (CRFF)

Where Are They Now: Jason Skaer
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PFB contributor Matt Amilian gave me the idea the other day that I should start interviewing former players to see what they’re up to. I said “ok, that sounds great, but who should we start with?” So he ran with it and had a nice little chat with Jason Skaer. Hopefully we’ll do a lot more of these in the future. Hope you guys enjoy… If he left a bitter taste in your mouth for transferring to Rice for his senior season, I hope you’re past that by now but if not, hopefully my conversation with Jason Skaer will lead you to wipe his slate clean. The former O-State forward is now the lead pastor of the Church at Alden Bridge in The Woodlands, TX. How did he get there? Why did he leave Stillwater for a school like Rice? Which OSU teammate would he want throwing down with him if he got in a scuffle at the Weed? It’s all here if you want to catch up with this former Cowboy. Matt: Why did you transfer to Rice from OSU for your senior season? Jason: I had a hunger to be utilized more offensively within the system (run more plays for me, allow me to post up, etc). In hindsight however this is probably the foolish mindset of most young players who always want more shots, more points, and more attention. Matt: How long did you play in Europe professionally and what NBA teams were you affiliated with when you played in the US? Jason: I tried out for the Houston Rockets on two occasions and was cut both times. I played some in China, Italy, France, and Qatar (covering about 3 years) but the bulk of my overseas career was with a team outside of Vienna, Austria. In the inaugural season of the NBDL I was also drafted by the Mobile Revelers (in Alabama) where I played for a brief time (less than one season). Matt: Why did you decide to change career paths and get into vocational ministry? Jason: I did not grow up in a Christian home and thus did not take a Christian mindset with me to OSU. The transformation happened during my first year overseas in Austria when I read the Bible for the first time (cover to cover) and realized that my priorities were all out of whack. Instead of living for my own glory (intellect, strength, riches, fame) God calls us to live for His glory. Primarily this means putting our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s hard to believe that 10 years later I’m a pastor in The Woodlands. God truly does have a sense of humor and is a worker of miracles and grace. Matt: I read that you lost $129,500 through the David Salinas scam. You have a different (and very respectable) viewpoint on losing that amount of money. What did you learn from the experience that you can pass on to others? Jason: Unfortunately YES we were victimized by the Salinas scandal like many other athletes and coaches. While certainly experiencing the normal emotions of anger, sadness, and embarrassment, my previously described faith in Jesus Christ has given me a radically different perspective than I would have had prior to coming to faith. The Bible says that all of

Daily Bullets
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I only read two things here: 1. The SEC is about to open up Fort Knox and 2. These are amateur athletes we’re talking about, that’s scary. (Sports Business Journal) He’s seriously the baseballiest person alive. Also, didn’t know about the ankle transplant. (New York Times) Good interview from Weeden here. Love the part about him throwing BBs in a workout and a team being like, “oh, nice job.” Picturing that is hilarious for some reason. (NewsOK) This is fun. (The Big Lead) Jacob Lacey signed with the Lions yesterday. If you had “over” on “Jacob Lacey will be in the league for 3 1/2 years”, you win. (Detroit Free Press) Some good moments from the HBO special on OSU last night. (NewsOK)

How They Finished
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Okay, so we all know OSU was good at football this year and not very good at basketball. But I was curious, how did our finish in each sport stack up historically? Heck, how did the way everybody finished in each sport stack up historically? So I did a little digging and compiled each team’s average Big 12 finish since its inception in 1996. There are a few hiccups in the data – most notably that only 10 of the original 12 teams remain and also that if you tied for a spot in the standings I gave each team that spot (ex: Texas and Kansas tied for the Big 12 hoops title in 07-08 so they each got a “1″). However, overall, I feel pretty good about it. Let’s take a look at football first: What this tells me is that Baylor and OSU both experienced WAY above average seasons and OU, for all their “Landry Jones might be worse than Paul Thompson!” rhetoric, actually finished at the spot they’ve averaged over the last 14 years: 3rd. It was actually Texas Tech (and to a lesser extent, Texas) who had the way-worse-than-normal season. Here’s how basketball looked:

Daily Bullets
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Budke court update: checks are still rolling in via snail mail so I won’t have anything to physically send for a week or so, just wanted to keep you guys on the up-and-up. Make sure you guys introduce the nation to Stillwater (might want to leave the whole Tumbleweed/Tremors thing out). (ESPN) HBO comes to Stillwater to take a look a the second plane crash. This should be interesting. (Tulsa World) Brandon Weeden is not a betting man. (NewsOK) Andrew Heaney wins Big 12 pitcher of the week and leads the country in Ks. (okstate.com) So we have NewsOK.com AND Oklahoman.com now? I wonder if this means no more stories on NewsOK? (Oklahoman) Speaking of websites, okstate.edu got a makeover yesterday as well. (OK State) Ubben has a different name for OSU’s QB race. (ESPN) Ivan Maisel says Bedlam has a chance to be an all-time rivalry. ht @osumaverick (ESPN)

Desmond Mason Is On Twitter
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I’m not going to lie, every six weeks (or so) I’d google “Desmond Mason on Twitter” and gleefully check to see if @DesmondMason had shed his anonymity and morphed into real Desmond Mason or @BrothaDez had given up the “artist mgmt” schtick and put his real photo up. Alas, neither ever transpired so when I got a text from my buddy, DeShazo on Friday night with a screenshot of @DesmondTMason that said “I think this is real”, I was suddenly in social media heaven. Social media heaven, by the way, is a place where Ashton Kutcher doesn’t have 10x more followers than the Washington Post and everyone understands that leading a tweet with a person’s handle means the only people who can see it are people who follow both of you. But that’s another post for another time. I wondered, however, how adept the former Cowboy and Thunder-er would be with the Twitters (it is certainly an art, though not necessarily an advanced one) but he came out of the gates hot with these doozies over the weekend: [blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/desmondtmason/status/180491570074746881"] Welcoming himself to Twitter.

Five Players OSU Needs
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I watched a lot of college basketball last weekend. Like, a copious amount of college basketball. And as I watched I started noticing these patterns of players I wished played for OSU. They weren’t stars – of course everybody could use an Anthony Davis or Thomas Robinson – but pieces of the puzzle OSU could use in rebuilding what was once a proud institutional hoops program. I even joked on Twitter… [blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/pistolsguy/status/181071970761326592"] And yes, OSU could absolutely use a Henriquez to swat shots and score, pairing him with Cobbins down low would be outstanding. Here are four other players OSU could use: A C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) – The Lehigh baller did everything short of pounding the floor in front of Duke’s bench right in Wojo’s face on Friday night. I’m of the belief that OSU already has a McCollum in Markel Brown but somebody needs to bring that out of him. Quickly. A Tony Fiegen (Soth Dakota State) – The athletic red head does pretty much everything but score for a Jackrabbits team that could have advanced if it wasn’t playing the most talented 3-seed in the last 10 years. He doesn’t turn the ball over, gets every loose board, and helped hold Perry Jones and Quincy Acy to a combined six points. Somebody put Jurick through the Justin Gilbert portion of the strength and conditioning program in Stillwater.

Daily Bullets
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First of all, big thanks to everyone who participated. We raised $650 for Kurt Budke court with a few checks still pending. I’ll have the final tally for you guys in the next few days as well as a prize announcement for the women’s bracket winner (whoever that may be…) Read this. (NewsOK) Somebody from West Virginia wants to know why Ubben thinks Weeden is better than Geno Smith. No, seriously. Also, interesting that Ubben thinks Quinn Sharp cost Weeden the Heisman, I’m not so sure. (ESPN) Berry Tramel on the proposed new Big 12 deal with ABC/ESPN. With the way ESPN firmly trumpeted the SEC last fall during the title race (and trust me, they have a vested interest in doing so) I’d say “screw it” and roll the dice with NBC. (NewsOK) Blackmon is moving up draft boards because of his pro day (which is dumb) and Tannehill is falling because he hasn’t been able to throw yet. Literally…not figuratively. (ESPN) Quinn Sharp and Justin Gilbert are not excited about the new kickoff rules. (NewsOK) Absolutely fascinating. (Columbia Daily Tribune) Cowgirls advance in the NIT. (NewsOK)

Wrestling Championships: What’s At Stake
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With all the madness of the March variety finally hitting our TV screens as of about 3 PM yesterday, we’ve forgotten about the only madness Oklahoma State is participating in this time of year: the Arch variety of the NCAA wrestling championships in St. Louis. If the storyline last year was one of disappointment – OSU sent six top 10 wrestlers to the championships and finished fourth overall – this year the narrative has been one of overcoming adversity. OSU only sent four top 10 wrestlers to St. Louis and didn’t have any representation at all in the 184 lb. class and yet they stand firmly in eighth after two days of wrestling with a great chance to move up in the final day. They currently sit behind Penn State, Cornell, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Illinois, and Lehigh (but only trail Illinois and Lehigh by .5 points). Furthermore junior Jordan Oliver is looking to complete back-to-back title runs tonight in a match with Ohio State’s Logan Stieber, the #2 wrestler in the country at the 133 lb. class coming into the championships. Oliver’s run has been whatever is on the other side of utterly dominant. He wrestled a total of 6:12 in his first three matches, earning an early pin in each, before outlasting B.J. Futrell of Illinois in the semis last night, 8-4. He looks to become OSU’s 36th (THIRTY-SIXTH!) two-time national champ. You can watch his potential coronation on ESPNU or on ESPN3.com (no times set yet, though both I and @cowboywrestling will tweet it out when it becomes available).

Daily Bullets
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Four perfect brackets in our pool after day 1. I’m in 174th place. (Yahoo!) Still time to give some money for Budke Court. We’re at $603 right now so we’ve technically hit our goal of $500 but I wouldn’t hate getting to $1,000 by tomorrow… (PFB) Also, if you followed along with our fantasy player draft from yesterday, you can look at the total scores here. I am so screwed. (Google) OSU had an EXCELLENT first day at the wrestling championships. (NewsOK) Here’s a good recap of all the storylines there. (St. Louis Dispatch) You can watch the quarters and semis online today if you’re stuck at work. (ESPN3)

2012 NCAA Fantasy Draft
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Every year (well the last two anyway) Nolo, Amilian, Quade, and I hold an NCAA tournament player draft. The rules are simple: you draft five players and total points over the course of the tournament wins. You get double points for all games played by double-digit seeds and double points for all Final Four games. Here’s what transpired… Round 1 Nolo: Sorry for the delay fellas. Late night last night. I’ll take Anthony Davis of the Kentucky Wildcats. KP: I like how you type the entire name of his team, as if we don’t know who you’re talking about. Of course, Quade might not…I’m stoked for his inevitable fourth round “I’ll take Kenneth Farie…wait he’s on the Nuggets now? Aren’t they an NBA team??” Quade: You guys are not nice. Why would I not know who Anthony Davis is? Because I have a life or because I’d rather watch the Thunder than college basketball. Nolo: Anthony Davis is the center for the Kentucky Wildcats, Quade. He’s widely considered to be the best player in college basketball right now. He will likely be taken as the top overall pick in the National Basketball Association (NBA) after this season is over. Quade: I’ll take Thomas Robinson. He’s the leading scorer for Kansas. They’re a two seed in the Midwest. KP: I love all the veiled bad blood already, this is awesome. Amilian: I’d like to take this moment to thank the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) for the best vacation ever. I apologize for that interruption but I feel contractually obligated to mention them when making public appearances (including PFB posts) because it was that incredible. Okay my pick. It has to be Harrison Barnes of the University of the North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, NC. I like UNC getting to the finals so I’ll take two games of 17.4 x 2. Based on my accurate bracket, at this point nobody else has a player who will be putting up double digits in the Final Four. Kentucky will choke. KP: I’ll take Tyler Zeller…

Daily Bullets
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First, a note. I posted yesterday about our push to raise a little cash to give to Coach Budke court. I set the mark at $250 thinking “that would be a great amount to write a check for and it seems like we could feasibly reach that over a few days.” Well, we reached it in one and a half hours and the support hasn’t stopped yet. We hit the $400 mark late last night so I’ve reset our goal to $500. We have until Saturday to get $89 more and I promise I won’t reset it again. Oh yeah…and you guys are the bomb. Nolo and I were texting all day yesterday about how blown away we were that somebody other than us actually cared about this kind of thing. So thank you for the money, thank you for understanding what we’re doing, and thank you for telling your friends. It’s going to be pretty awesome to write Shelley Budke a letter in a few weeks and say “hey, I have this blog and my readers are awesome and together we all raised $500 to donate for Kurt’s court.” That’s going to mean something, so thank you. On to the bullets… Last chance to get in our bracket challenge, we’re up to 333 people!! (Yahoo!) Oh my. (Tulsa World) John Helsley says three positions are in desperate need of getting filled in Stillwater and one isn’t where you’d expect it. (NewsOK) John Lucas had 24-3-1 against LeBron and the Heat last night. (ESPN)

Women’s Challenge for Budke
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A few weeks ago, my boy Nolo had a brilliant idea for something we could do to help raise some money for the court being built for Coach Budke. He said “let’s have a bracket challenge for the women’s tourney and everybody throw in some money. Winner gets an OSU prize to be determined later by Pistolsguy and the rest of the money goes to help fund the Budke court.” So that’s what we’re doing. You can fill out your women’s bracket and donate below. I’ll send 100% of the money I don’t spend on the prize (the prize will be small, $20-$30) to the Budke Court fund and I’ll do a little write up post-tourney telling y’all how much we raised for it (our goal is $250 as you can see in the sidebar) and who the winner of the bracket challenge was. It’s the least we can do this time of year, especially for someone who meant this much to this many people. I threw in $25 to get it kick-started. By all means, spread the word too. Twitter, Facebook, email, however you want. Here’s the bracket challenge: ESPN And here’s where you can donate: Obviously there’s some trust going on here: from you that I will indeed send the money and not keep it and buy Justin Blackmon rookie cards…and from me that you won’t enter the challenge without first throwing something (just $1 will do) in the pot. But I think we’ve both earned that trust from each other over the last year or so. Have a great March Madness.

Daily Bullets
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A new dynasty for the Big 12? Let’s pump the brakes a little bit on that one. (ESPN) Great read on where Travis Ford is at emotionally these days. (O’Colly) Ouch. (CBS Sports) Using algorithms to pick the NCAA tournament. (Fast Company) Luke Winn goes over my head with the “survival model” of picking tourney teams developed at Harvard (Sports Illustrated) This is…just…I have no words for how funny fake Dan Beebe’s bracket is. (Twitter) Perrish Cox, fresh off the hook for his rape case, signs with the 49ers. Yay! (NewsOK)