The Big 12 conference is well-represented in the tournament this year, with seven of the 10 teams playing in March.
One of those three teams not dancing in March is the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cowboys are under a new coach this season after their one-year coach Brad Underwood left to coach the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Upperclassmen on the team were looking for a chance the redeem themselves after last year’s heartbreaking loss to Michigan in the tournament.
Oklahoma State finished sixth in the Big 12 with a record of 20-14 and beat Kansas twice during the regular season, but that was not enough to secure themselves a spot in the tournament.
Their in state rival the Oklahoma Sooners are in the tournament as a 10 seed. This morning the Sooners lost to Rhode Island in overtime which bears the question, should the Cowboys have been in the tournament instead of the Sooners?
The Sooners season can be described by two words, Trae Young. Young has lead the team in scoring and averages 27 points per game as well as 9 assists. Young is an obvious choice to declare for the draft after his season ended tonight in Pittsburgh.
The Cowboys know what it is like to play against Trae Young. This season they met three times, twice in the regular season and once in the Big 12 tournament. The Sooners won the first matchup but would drop the next two games to the Cowboys.
The most recent showdown between these teams was on March 7, and ESPN golden boy Trae Young under-performed scoring only 22 points going 7/21 from the field. So, should have the Cowboys been in and not Oklahoma?
Based strictly on performance in the Big 12, yes. The Cowboys deserved the opportunity to see how far they could have gone in March but the season as a whole, the Sooners were a ranked team dominating the Big 12 in the beginning of the season. The Sooners at times looked like they could knock Kansas from their pedestal and claim the Big 12 title.
Once tournament play began the story quickly changed for the Sooners. The Cowboys began to win games they should not have, like a win against sixth ranked Texas Tech.
The Cowboys had one final chance to prove themselves to the committee in the Big 12 tournament. A win against the Sooners was a great start but that energy could not carry over against the Kansas Jayhawks. Loosing 82 to 68 to the Jayhawks, it is easy to argue if the Cowboys could have won that game they go from first four out to last four in.
The Cowboys are dancing in March, but in the NIT as a two seed. The Cowboys won their first matchup against Florida Gulf Coast and play Stanford on Monday.
It is hard to predict what the Cowboys would have done if they made the tournament, but March is the time for upsets.