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Mike Boynton ‘Surprised’ Pokes Are a 4 Seed

Boynton said he thought OSU was closer to a 2 than a 4.



[Photo via Denny Medley/Big 12 Conference]

ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi wasn’t the only person surprised the Cowboys were selected as a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said Monday morning that he was surprised his Cowboys didn’t get at least a 3 seed. Boynton said he thought OSU was closer to a 2 than a 4, but when the ordered list of tournament teams got revealed, it showed OSU was closer to a 5 than a 3.

Boynton also pointed to the facts that OSU had the second-most Quad-1 wins in the country, that five of OSU’s seven losses were to Tournament teams and that OSU has 13 wins against Tournament teams.

“I’m not gonna gripe,” Boynton said. “You gotta beat good teams if you’re gonna play in this Tournament. I thought we should have been a 3, but it is what it is. We’ll get to play. If we’re good enough, we’ll beat some teams that are gonna move on this event, and that’s the only way to really go out there and show that we deserved a little bit better, to go out there and play really well and continue to move on.”

The Cowboys now have a match up with 13th-seeded Liberty in the Tournament’s First Round on Friday. The matchup has been a trendy upset pick since the bracket was announced.

Boynton knows the anatomy of an upset from the other side. Boynton was an assistant on Brad Underwood’s Stephen F. Austin staffs in 2014 and 2016.

In 2014, the 12th-seeded Lumberjacks beat fifth-seeded VCU. Then in 2016, the 14th-seeded Lumberjacks beat third-seeded West Virginia and nearly beat sixth-seeded Notre Dame to get to the Sweet 16.

“I know what it’s like for those teams to prepare for a higher seed, and those are the things that I referenced to our guys,” Boynton said. “They don’t really have anything to lose.

“By about the six-minute mark of the second half in our game, Stephen F. Austin vs. West Virginia, everybody in the building was pulling for us to win. West Virginia, I think, felt that. It was like playing a road game and Brooklyn, New York against a damn team from east Texas, somehow, with a kid with a Lumberjack beard [Thomas Walkup]. It just didn’t make any sense that it was all going against them at the moment. So, that’s really what I focus on is getting our guys to understand how this thing can turn quickly from you being higher seed to also feeling in the game, if you’re not playing well, there’s real pressure on you to not have one of those upsets happen to you.”

If the Cowboys are able to get past Liberty and the Tournament’s Second Round, the Pokes would likely play top-seeded Illinois in the Sweet 16. If OSU was on the 3 line, that wouldn’t happen until the Elite Eight.

Despite the controversy, Boynton said there isn’t anything that can be done about it now, tipping off to his “Let’s Work” catch phrase.

“Do I wish we were 3? Yes,” Boynton said. “Do I think we deserved to be on a 3 line? Absolutely, but I’m not going to change it in the next four days. So I’m not going to let my guys focus on that. Let’s just go win and let the play speak for itself.”

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