Bandwagon had a Brief Life for Cowboys and NCAA, the Key Word is Brief
Earlier this week I was listening, like I often do, to the Big 12 Channel on Sirius-XM Radio and with all the excitement over Oklahoma State winning three of their last four games in the Big 12, the announcers were getting excited. The Pokes knocking off No. 24 Texas Tech 73-70 on Saturday in front of former head coach Eddie Sutton and many of his 1995 Final Four players had the Big 12 crew thinking possible NCAA tournament for these Cowboys. As I listened driving down the road, I thought about whether I should publicly endorse that enthusiastic attitude. I chose not to. It was a wise choice.
After the Cowboys 65-47 loss that included a cave in during the final 22:55 of the contest in the WVU Coliseum, Oklahoma State can still keep their head above water. They can finish with a record that will earn them an NIT invite, but there won't be an NCAA invitation coming.
In the first half I was driving back to Edmond after staying late and watching the football competition day. As I was listening to Dave Hunziker and John Holcomb describe the action with the Cowboys getting stops, taking care of the basketball, and using strong offensive games, primarily inside by Yor Anei and Cam McGriff, I was thinking that I had missed a solid orange opportunity to jump on an advance bandwagon and look like as Dave would describe it, a "Carnac the Magnificient."
Anei scored all eight of his points in the first half, heck in the first 12 minutes of the game. McGriff and Anei combined for 17 of the Cowboys first 19 points. McGriff would finish with 19 points.
With 2:55 to go in the first half, Oklahoma State led 33-25. The rest of the game they were outscored by West Virginia 40-14. In the second half they were outscored 37-14. The second half was the best defensive half of the season for the Mountaineers. They obviously made some adjustments at halftime.
Oklahoma State appeared to make some adjustments as well. The Cowboys shot a lot more three pointers in the second half and finished 3-of-14 for the contest. Oklahoma State turned the ball over 10 times the second half completely reversing another first half trend. The Cowboys missed shots inside too. The bunnies seemed to either hop right over the rim or they never hopped high enough to have chance.
Free throws? The same team that hit 31-of-38 on Saturday against Texas Tech was 8-of-12 in Morgantown.
Now, West Virginia is still the No. 17 team in the country and a very good defensive team, but Oklahoma State did a lot to make them look better and more than enough to kill the overly optimistic NCAA talk that surfaced after Saturday. That sound you heard Tuesday night was a dose of realism falling down in Cowboy country.