We continue our second trip through the Big 12 with a visit to Bill Self's old stomping grounds, Gallagher-Iba Arena. Can Kansas continue the march towards number 11, or do the Cowboys prove to be the stumbling block that lets the rest of the league get back into the race. We checked in with Josh Poteet (aka JoshPoteet_CRFF) over at Cowboys Ride For Free, the SB Nation site covering the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
RCT: So taking down Texas for their first road win and sweep of an opponent is a pretty big deal in a conference like this. Could this serve as a springboard to their season, or is Texas just overrated?
CRFF: I hope so but I think it's the latter. Texas has the potential to be a really good team, but like last year's OSU team have habitually underachieved. That being said, I don't care who you're playing in this conference, a win on the road against a ranked team is a fantastic accomplishment that goes a LONG way to a tournament seed.
If the Pokes can find a way to knock off Kansas then that would probably serve as a good springboard to get them into the tournament. I've said for weeks now that 19 wins would probably get OSU into a play-in game and a win on Saturday would probably help solidify the Pokes season.
RCT: Travis Ford seems to have been on the hot seat for the last few years, but everything I've heard has pretty much said it's his outrageous contract that has kept him employed. Is that the general sentiment, that Ford is holding the program back but is too expensive to get rid of?
CRFF: You nailed it on the head. The general attitude around Stillwater is that the basketball program is kind of treading water until we can bring someone in who can actually manage his talent and not just bring it in. Ford is one of the best recruiters in the country and if he had any idea what to do on a basketball court this team would routinely compete for a conference championship.
Is there any chance you might send Bill Self back?
Keiton Page re-incarnate Phil Forte ever going to graduate? It seems like Oklahoma State has had some version of the same white guy who can shoot the deep ball on the roster for the last 20 years or so. Is that a role that the Cowboys specifically recruit?
CRFF: #TraditionNeverGraduates! But seriously, Keiton still hasn't left as he is an assistant coach for the Pokes and is the head coach of an OSU Intramural team. Phil Forte is literally the reincarnation of Page but I think that he isn't quite as good...except when he plays Kansas.
For some reason Phil always shows up against Kansas and hopefully we see him do it again on Saturday. I don't know that Ford specifically recruits a short white kid who has a nice shot to his team. The only reason Phil is at OkState is because he grew up with Marcus Smart, they are best friends and OSU offered Forte and so Smart came to Stillwater. They were essentially a package deal.
RCT: Turning to the game, Kansas has really started to pick up it's defensive effort, now trailing Oklahoma and basically tied with Oklahoma State in conference play. Unfortunately for OSU, their offense has been somewhat anemic in Big 12 play. What matchups do you think the Cowboys can exploit to try and get the offense going against the Jayhawks?
CRFF: I really like the matchup of Le'Bryan Nash against the KU post defense. The only issue I have with LB is that he seems lazy and is an inconsistent player. If something lights a fire under him on Saturday then the former five star recruit has the ability to torch anyone he plays against.
But the other great matchup is Hickey on Selden Jr. I am a huge fan of Hickey and am so glad that he transferred to OSU. He and Selden are similar in the way they play which will lead to an interesting battle of which guard can lead their team to victory.
RCT: Your prediction? Does Kansas keep it's hot streak going against the Cowboys, or does the home team yet again take down the conference leaders? Can Oklahoma State stop alternating wins and losses and start the climb into the top half of the conference?
CRFF: If you had asked me last week I would have taken KU by 5+ points but I'm going to please the Cowboy faithful and take the Pokes.
OSU wins 73-72 on a Forte buzzer beater. Although it isn't what it used to be, Gallagher-Iba Arena is still a really tough place to play, especially if it's a big game. OSU has had success against KU at home in recent memory so why not?
RCT: BONUS - Star Wars or Star Trek?
CRFF: LOL Star Wars. Better production, better storyline. That's like asking Bill Self or Travis Ford, take your pick.
So Star Wars gets the early 2-0 lead.
Thanks to Josh for joining us. Don't forget to check out the questions I answered for him over on CRFF.