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Selection Sunday: Oklahoma State First Team Out of NCAA Tournament

The Pokes are left out on Selection Sunday.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Finishing seventh in the toughest conference in America was not enough to get Oklahoma State into the 2023 NCAA Tournament field.

Oklahoma State was the first team out of the NCAA Tournament, it was announced on Sunday’s Selection Show. Instead, the committee valued bubble teams Pitt, NC State, Arizona State and Nevada. The Cowboys are a shoo-in for the NIT, where they will likely host games. That tournament field will be announced later Sunday evening.

“When you look at their resume, they had 18 opportunities in the Quad 1 and they won only six games,” Selection Committee chair Chris Reynolds said. “They had opportunities in the nonconference schedule to win some games to enhance their resume, and they fell a little short.”

Oklahoma ended the Big 12 Tournament with an 18-15 overall record, going 8-10 in Big 12 play before going 1-1 in the Big 12 Tournament. The Cowboys went 6-12 in Quad 1 games, finishing with more Quad 1 wins that much of their competition but having more attempts.

The biggest blemish of the Cowboys’ resume was a Nov. 10 loss to Southern Illinois in Gallagher-Iba Arena. OSU held a 13-point lead early in the second half before the collapse. SIU hit a 3 with 22 seconds to play to take the lead.

OSU also blew a 17-point lead in The Bahamas against UCF on Nov. 18 and a 15-point lead against Kansas on Dec. 31 in Lawrence. Hindsight says any of one of those games could’ve been the difference in OSU going to the Big Dance instead of the NIT.

The Cowboys have also dealt with the injury bug biting some of their key cogs this season. Moussa Cisse missed five games this season with an ankle injury that has hampered his production since suffering it Jan. 2. Avery Anderson suffered a wrist injury sometime before OSU’s trip to Kansas State on Jan. 10. After playing through the ailment for a few games, Anderson underwent surgery Feb. 8.

OSU has made the NCAA Tournament just once in Mike Boynton’s tenure, the 2021 tournament with Cade Cunningham leading the way. That season the Pokes earned a 4 seed, winning a game before falling in the Second Round. It should also be noted that in Boynton’s tenure, the NCAA Tournament has also been canceled once, and OSU was banned last year after sanctions from the FBI’s probe into college basketball.

“I thought we did enough coming into the [conference] tournament to be perfectly honest,” said Boynton after OSU’s Big 12 Tournament loss to Texas. “I mean, this league presents challenges that, I’ve been in several others, that no other league does. And I think it’s historically good this year. It’s not just a good league and not just a league that is better than the others, but it’s far and away better than the other leagues. And with all due respect, because there’s really good basketball around the country, but to get eight wins in this conference, three in a row, three sweeps, to play the schedule we played overall is a testament to the character of these guys. I think we certainly deserve inclusion into the event.”

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