Teams: Oklahoma State (18-12, 6-10) vs. Nebraska (19-11, 7-9)
For entertainment purposes
The Cowboys face the Huskers for the second time this year, this one in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament. The game starts at 11:30 AM and will be shown on the Big 12 Network as well as ESPN3. OSU is currently ranked #63 in the RPI (how?) while Nebraska sits at #78. The Huskers are also favored by 3.
Behind enemy lines
Nebraska comes to Kansas City desperate for the two wins they need to get into the dance. They blew a chance they had in the regular season finale to lock up a .500 record which would have put them in a position where they would have only had to get past OSU to get in. Now it’s probably OSU + KU = ticket punched.
It’s not that this OSU team is Jekyll and Hyde as much as it is just Hyde. This is just not a good basketball team. I get the feeling that Travis Ford isn’t exactly sure of what he wants: part of him probably just wants all of it to be over with and to drive a Brinks truck down to Dallas to import LeBryan and the other part talks about the NIT in such reverential tones that he has me convinced the university needs a little dance title.
OSU will win if…
The one thing OSU couldn’t do in Lincoln earlier this year is hit gimmies around the bucket. Franklin and Moses must have combined for double-digit missed layups. If Moses can stay out of foul trouble (the enormity of that understatement is not lost on me) and the Cowboys can get 6-7 easy baskets then that really should be enough to take Nebraska on a neutral court.
What I’m worried about
Nebraska actually has something to play for as most publications still have them bubbling going into the conference tournaments. OSU (obviously) does not have anything to play for…other than shocking the entire country and winning four straight against to go to the tournament. This doesn’t worry me as much as it would with, say, that Boggans/Monds team because these guys have actually played hard the entire year, but worrisome nonetheless.
Two random stats that (probably) only interest me:
OSU has never lost in the first round of the Big 12 tournament…annnnnd there you go.
Lance Jeter is averaging > 5 rebounds and assists in the Big 12 this year. Only two other people have ever done that. You can offer up your guesses in the comments section and I’ll post the answers there…