Connect with us


Boynton Doesn’t Want Fans to Lower Their Expectations after Missing NCAA Tournament

‘I’m gonna be as committed as ever to making sure that we don’t have this feeling moving forward.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — For the fifth time in Mike Boynton’s six-year tenure, the Cowboys won’t play in the NCAA Tournament.

Oklahoma State was as close as possible this season without getting in, being the first team out of the tournament’s field. That has resulted in the Cowboys being the No. 1 seed in the NIT, where they’ll face Youngstown State at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Youngstown. There are caveats — whether you call them reasons or excuses — as to why the Cowboys haven’t made the Big Dance more often. Here are a few:

Year 1: Arguably snubbed after sweeping Kansas and finishing 8-10 in conference
Year 2: Finished with seven scholarship players
Year 3: Tournament was canceled because of the pandemic (OSU was on the outside looking in)
Year 4: Made it with Cade Cunningham
Year 5: Banned
Year 6: First team out

But the history books probably won’t go into that much detail. And no matter how it happened, some OSU fans have voiced displeasure about their team rarely being on the premier dance floor. The program has been below its esteemed standard.

“My message to our fans is I don’t want them to lower their expectations,” Boynton said Monday. “I certainly am not gonna lower mine. This year we fell short of a goal, a goal that our program will always strive to be playing in the big tournament, if you will. I understand and respect their frustrations.

“I’m gonna be as committed as ever to making sure that we don’t have this feeling moving forward. Obviously not everything is totally in our control. There’s some things that didn’t go our way this year that we didn’t really have control over, but the things that we do control, we’ve got to do a better job with.”

This isn’t Boynton’s first NIT. Like this season, Boynton went 8-10 in his first year at the helm and missed the NCAA Tournament after sweeping Kansas and finishing their resume having won four of six with two of those wins coming against Top 10 teams.

The end of this season has been different. The Cowboys dropped six of eight to finish their tournament resume with the two wins coming against the only other teams in the league who didn’t make the NCAA Tournament.

Another difference in this time and last is the NET. Back in 2018, the RPI was more highly thought of. The NET ranking seemed to be somewhat of a response to OSU missing out, but it didn’t seem to play a major factor this season. OSU’s NET ranking of 43 was higher than three of the last four teams in the NCAA Tournament field. In fact, the average NET ranking of the first four out of the tournament was 47.3 while the average ranking of the last four teams in was 54.5.

That first time in the NIT, Boynton mentioned the importance of mindset for a team that was disappointed to not be in the Big Dance.

“I think they’re in a good place [in terms of mindset],” Boynton said. “I think the way the season ended this time was a little bit different than the way it ended the last time. We won a couple games late, but we had played much better down the stretch that season. But I think after seeing them practice for a couple days, for the most part — and I can’t say to a man, I don’t want to speak for each individual person — I think they’re gonna be excited to play Wednesday.”

Boynton, who has dominated in the recruiting and public relations aspects of his first head coaching gig, will be under a microscope moving forward, especially if his team is unable to make the tournament again next season. And it sounds as if no one knows that more than he does.

“No one wants to win more than I do,” Boynton said. “I’m the one who’s got the most at stake here — let’s be perfectly honest about what’s going on. I can view the shortcomings and say I’ve got to do a better job in getting those corrected and also saying, ‘Man, we were really close to being one of those teams.’ We were literally No. 69 on a 68-team list.

“…We did some good things. Do we need to be better? Yes, no question. We gotta be better. The goal isn’t going to change. We’re not gonna start saying, ‘Let’s celebrate going to the NIT.’ But we are gonna go try to win the NIT since we’re in it.”

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media