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Bracketology Update: OSU Comfortably in NCAA Tournament Field

OSU is safe in the field for now.

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Photo: Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics

Oklahoma State was expected to lose to No. 2 Baylor on Saturday, and it did exactly that, falling 81-66 in a hard-fought game without Cade Cunningham and Rondel Walker.

The loss is a missed opportunity for the program to gain a signature win — one that would really thrust it comfortably into the AP rankings on Monday — but the Pokes are still sitting pretty on the whole. They’re 9-4 overall, 3-4 in Big 12 play and have four KenPom top-100 wins on their resume.

For now, that’s keeping them afloat with room to spare as bracket experts start making their projections for March Madness. Here’s a look at where things stand at several media outlets.

CBS Sports

Projection: 5 seed in the West

Given that the entire NCAA Tournament will be held in Indiana this year, the West region is no different than the South or East or Midwest. But as a 5 seed in the West, it would notably keep OSU in the bottom left of the bracket. More to the point, it would keep OSU out of a potential Sweet 16 matchup with likely No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga. In this projection, it’d be with the weakest of the four No. 1 seeds and in the same region where Texas is the 2 seed. Seems favorable.

ESPN

Projection: 8 seed in the East

The good thing about this ESPN projection is that OSU is in the field of 68. The bad thing about this ESPN projection is that OSU is in the field of 68 as an 8 seed in the same region as No. 1 Gonzaga. If OSU were to win its first-round game, it would face the Zags in the second round.

I can see your mind churning now. Isn’t that a good thing, Kyle? Be the best ya gotta beat the best, amirite?

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Good chance Gonzaga enters the NCAA Tournament undefeated as an overwhelming favorite to win it all. It has won every game but one by double figures. This would not be a good matchup for OSU.

Bracketville

This is the No. 1 most accurate bracket expert according to a website that tracks such things.

Projection: 5 seed in the East

Another 5 seed projection, same as CBS Sports, but this one in the East. That means OSU would be in the same bracket as No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga but wouldn’t potentially face them until the Sweet 16.

The takeaway

Oklahoma State, for right now, is comfortably in the NCAA Tournament field of 68. That’s because its postseason appeal with the NCAA is pending a decision, for one, but also because to this point it has a good-enough body of work to be in the mix.

Should the NCAA respond to OSU’s appeal before March Madness, it could affect its eligibility, of course. (Unless the NCAA decides to cancel it.) But overall OSU is in a very good spot with three winnable games on deck over its next three against Iowa State, Arkansas and TCU.

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