Once-vaunted Oklahoma State now finds itself on the bubble

Wednesday February 12th, 2014

(Cooper Neill/Getty Images) With star guard Marcus Smart suspended, Oklahoma State suffered an embarrassing  87-68 loss at Texas. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

A nightmare second half of season continued for Oklahoma State last Saturday when Marcus Smart went into the stands and shoved a Texas Tech fan. That led to a three-game suspension, which began last night at Texas. Without Smart the Cowboys got drilled, 87-68, on Tuesday putting them firmly on the bubble.

The selection committee will give the Cowboys some leeway for the three games Smart misses, the same way they do when a team loses a key player for a handful of games due to injury. Still, Oklahoma State was trending downward even with Smart in the lineup, having lost five straight, including Saturday's defeat to the Red Raiders, a team ranked 121st in RPI. Oklahoma State is now 4-7 in the Big 12, 36th in RPI, 3-6 against the top-50 RPI teams and 6-8 against the top 100. The Cowboys have yet to show they can beat an NCAA tournament team on the road, with their best win in a true-road game coming at West Virginia. No matter the circumstances, that's the resume of a bubble team.

It won't get any easier in Smart's absence. The Cowboys host Oklahoma on Saturday, a team that already beat them by 12 with Smart. Smart will also miss next Monday's game at Baylor before making his return against none other than Texas Tech.

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