Cowboy Hoops Notebook: Way-Too-Early Rankings Show Pokes Favor

Zach Lancaster

STILLWATER – It appears that Tuesday is the day for way-too-early look-aheads across college basketball and most of them have been favorable for Oklahoma State. The three that we’re going to look at are one from Sports Illustrated and two from ESPN: A way-too-early NCAA Bracketology from Joe Lunardi, the top-25 basketball players in 2020-21 and a way-too-early top-25 poll.

First on the docket is the way-too-early top-25 poll from SI. While I think the Cowboys will be successful in the upcoming season, with how the 2019-20 season went (OSU finished No. 64 in the NET), I agree with where they’re at in this list. SI doesn’t have the Pokes in the top-25, but they are listed in the first five out along with Oregon, LSU, Arizona State and Stanford.

The other Big 12 schools to make the top-25 are Baylor at No. 3, Kansas at No. 9, Texas Tech at No. 10, West Virginia at No. 22 and Texas at No. 23.

The Big 12 is going to be very tough next season and once Oklahoma State gets up and running, I think they’ll be squarely in the mix to win the conference.

Way-Too-Early NCAA Tournament Bracketology

If we take a look at Cowboy basketball, they were riding a big-time momentum swing by the end of the season. They had won eight of their last 11 games of the season, including a thrilling win over Iowa State in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament. They were set to face a red-hot Kansas team in the second round and we'll never how the story would've gone, but one thing's for certain, Oklahoma State is poised to ride the momentum in the 2020-21 season.

Mike Boynton and Co. are bringing in a top-10 nationally ranked recruiting class led by the No. 1 player in the country, Cade Cunningham, to add to a talented group of returning players. Juniors Isaac Likekele and Yor Anei and sophomores Avery Anderson III, Kalib and Keylan Boone, Chris Harris and Hidde Roessink.

Add that all together and you get ESPN's Joe Lunardi teaming Oklahoma State up with Xavier in the 8-9 game of the Memphis regional in the 2021 NCAA tournament.

Now, obviously that's a way-too-early bracket prediction and lot has to happen before the Cowboys can make the 2021 NCAA tournament, but Mike Boynton certainly has OSU headed in the right direction.

Top-25 Basketball Players in 2020-21

The third and final tidbit comes from ESPN: Ranking the top 25 players in college basketball in 2020-21.

Without ever having stepped foot on a court in a college uniform, 2020 signee Cade Cunningham was tabbed as the No. 17 best college basketball player going into the 2020-21 season. Cunningham is one of three high school prospects to make the list, along with Jalen Green and Evan Mobley.

Cunningham is ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2020 class and is the second-highest rated recruiting for Oklahoma State in the modern recruiting era.

As mentioned above, you combine Cunningham and the recruiting class with the current roster, ’20-’21 should be an incredibly fun season to watch.