Everyone is talking about the NBA Playoffs, so that is exactly what Jeff, Jacob and Josh discuss this week. The crew gives its insight on every single first round matchup after one game and discusses some expectations for the rest of the playoffs.
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.
Louisville’s impressive run through the 2013 NCAA Tournament — one in which the Cardinals overcoming an unforgettably gruesome injury to guard Kevin Ware — has been removed from NCAA record books after the University’s appeal fell through.
The Cardinals have also been forced to vacate 123 wins between 2012 and 2015, all as a result of the recent scandal involving former head coach Rick Pitino and illegal benefits for under-aged recruits.
In the 2012-13 season, Louisville earned the No. 1 overall seed after finishing the regular season 26-5 and winning the Big East championship over Syracuse.
The Cardinals rolled through the midwest regional, losing Ware in a dominant elite-eight win over Duke, before picking off Wichita State in the Final Four.
In the national championship game in Atlanta, Louisville defeated Michigan, 82-76, behind 22 points from Luke Hancock and another 18 from tournament MVP Peyton Siva.
Of course, the record books say otherwise following the NCAA’s ruling, but that won’t change the tattoo on Pitino’s back commemorating the red-hot 2013 run.
Pitino was fired prior to the 2017-18 season in response an entirely different scandal, the recent FBI probe involving Adidas and players receiving financial compensation in return for college commitments.
Since Pitino’s firing, head coach David Padgett has led Louisville to an 18-9 record and will likely have the Cardinals playing in the NCAA Tournament.
As the calendar turns to February, a handful of teams are starting to make their mark as Final Four contenders.
Take the Villanova Wildcats, who have lost just once — at Butler. The ‘Cats are ripping through a deep and competitive Big East with ease, most recently victimizing Creighton by 20. It’s the same deal for teams like Virginia and Purdue, which are both firmly on top of their respective leagues with unblemished conference records.
Others are seeing their résumés take serious hits entering the final month of the season. Arizona State, TCU, and Texas A&M have all gone from former spots in the AP top 10 to now being dangerously close to the bubble.
Speaking of the bubble, as it stands today…
Last Four Byes
Last Four In
First Four Out
Next Four Out
Without further ado, the first addition of Sideline Intel’s NCAA Tournament bracket predictions:
EAST REGIONAL | Boston, Mass.
SOUTH REGIONAL | Atlanta, Ga.
MIDWEST REGIONAL | Omaha, Neb.
WEST REGIONAL | Los Angeles, Calif.