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Hoops Notebook: Remembering the Ten, Cisse Update and Prepping for Ole Miss

Cisse is ‘day-to-day.’



STILLWATER — The Cowboys get a reprieve from the toughest league in America for the final rendition of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

Oklahoma State hosts Ole Miss at 7 p.m. Saturday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. OSU coach Mike Boynton met with reporters Thursday to discuss the upcoming weekend. Here are three things that stood out.

Remember the Ten Provides ‘Real Connection’ between University and Community

Saturday’s game against Ole Miss will also serve as Oklahoma State’s annual Remember the Ten game, honoring Kendall Durfey Bjorn Fahlstrom, Nate Fleming, Will Hancock, Daniel Lawson, Brian Luinstra, Denver Mills, Pat Noyes, Bill Teegins and Jared Weiberg.

That group of 10 died in a plane crash on Jan. 27, 2001 on the way back from a game in Colorado. Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton was just a freshman at South Carolina when the crash happened, but since taking over as OSU’s coach, he makes a point to inform his players about how much this game means to OSU and the community as a whole, taking the team to the memorial and having the group run the Remember the Ten 5K every year.

“It’s one of the things that makes this place unique is that there’s a connection, like a real connection, between the university and this community, unfortunately through some tragic events,” Boynton said. “But it’s real. Every time I go to that race [the Remember the Ten Run] or we take our guys to that memorial and every time we have a dinner, you humanize something that is just an event for people.

“I don’t want our kids to put their uniform on any day, but certainly Saturday, without understanding … the tragic event that happened, and the families that were impacted still care deeply about, on that day, being able to look out and be proud of the program.”

Cisse ‘Day-to-Day’ Entering Saturday

Last week it looked as if Oklahoma State was on track to get its starting center back, but Moussa Cisse reaggravated his injured ankle fighting for a late rebound in OSU’s win against Iowa State.

Cisse didn’t play in OSU’s loss to Texas on Tuesday. Boynton said Cisse hadn’t practiced leading up to the Texas game, but Boynton added that Cisse did some limited work in practice Thursday.

The Cowboys are 3-1 in Big 12 games Cisse has played in (though he played only two minutes against Oklahoma) and 0-4 without him.

“The kid wants to play, that’s the hard part,” Boynton said. “So you’re protecting him against himself and your own interests in some ways. But it’s the right thing to do. We gotta make sure the kid, when he gets back, is as close to full strength for himself but also to be able to sustain some sort of run here.

“It’s hard. Listen, at the end of the day, guys, I’m pretty transparent, like this is my job. This is how I make a living. So playing our most important player certainly helps me do this job better, which probably helps me keep this job longer. It’s also sort of selfish to thin about it that way. If I’m real in what I say in recruiting, if I’m real with what I say in the locker room, then I’m always gonna make sure that their interests are at the forefront of the decisions we make. Then you gotta live with the results of doing the right thing.”

A Momentary Break from Big 12 Play

The Big 12 schedule is a gauntlet.

Even here in late January, the lowest-ranked Big 12 team in KenPom is No. 70 — and that team (Texas Tech) hasn’t even won a conference game. Aside from Tech and Oklahoma, every Big 12 team is ranked in the Top 40 of KenPom, making for an absolute slugfest night in and night out.

The Cowboys have historically done well in the Big 12-SEC Challenge, which is in its final year. OSU has a 6-3 record in the event, and the Pokes are 4-0 in games played in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

But this break in league play makes for an interesting dynamic in terms of preparation. Big 12 teams know so much about one another, and with the common goal of finishing as high as possible in the league standings, this out-of-conference game is an adjustment.

“It’s a challenging situation to be honest,” Boynton said. “It’s a game with significance, but it doesn’t really have significance of what you’re in the middle of trying to accomplish. We’re trying to compete for a Big 12 championship or standing in the league. It’s a game that can matter long term, right, if we’re talking postseason, so our preparation probably isn’t quite the same in terms of the depth that we go into it with. We certainly don’t have the knowledge of their roster, so it’s probably an abbreviated version of what you do kind of preparing for your first game of the year. We’ve got some familiarity with them. So you’ve got more time than you do like a quick turnaround in a [nonconference tournament], but not as much time as you would spend preparing for next week’s game.”

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