Last time TCU and Oklahoma State squared off, the Frogs knocked off the 21st ranked Cowboys in Fort Worth. The two Big 12 foes meet again tonight in Stillwater, in a game with implications abound. The Frogs are looking to add a solid road win to their resume, increasing hope of a potential NIT bid. For the Cowboys, a win would be one step closer toward securing a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Tonight's contest also carries implications for seeding in next week's Big 12 Tournament. More information on that here.
To preview tonight's contest, I met up with Josh Poteet of Cowboys Ride for Free. Be sure to head over to CRFF and check out their game coverage, including his side of our Q&A.
1. Oklahoma State hasn't won since before their trip to Fort Worth. The Pokes are currently riding a four game losing streak. What is going on with the Cowboys? At this point, what do you think is the ceiling for this team? Are they going to make it to the NCAA Tournament?
I wish I had a good answer for you because if I did then maybe I could be the future coach for this team. The problem is that no one knows what is happening with the Pokes right now. Ever since that fantastic three-game win streak where OSU knocked off Texas, KU and Baylor, they have turned into garbage. What probably happened is that the Cowboys, after beating KU, thought they were a team to be reckoned with and didn't take TCU seriously. We all know what happened in Ft. Worth and I think that shattered the Pokes' confidence and they haven't been able to recover.
The ceiling is making the tournament. At this point, that would be a miracle. OkState needs to win tonight against the Frogs, beat West Virginia in Morgantown on Saturday (LOL) and then win at least two games in the conference tournament if they want a big finish.
If you think the Pokes can win four straight against superior competition then I need to start drinking your kool-aid because you're far more optimistic than I am. The Pokes won't make the NCAA Tournament.
2. Travis Ford's squad has a pretty talented roster from top to bottom. Who earns your MVP award for this season? Which players have performed well and which ones left you wanting more?
To answer your first question I need to answer the last one first. Le'Bryan Nash was the big name on the roster coming into the season and he will play his last game in Gallagher-Iba Arena tonight. He has certainly been the best player this season but for four years he has been leaving all of us wanting more.
The kid was a five star recruit coming out of high school and he just never seemed to develop into a complete basketball player. He was never awful or a liability but he never reached his full potential it seemed.
That being said, Nash is the MVP for a bad team. How fitting is that? An overhyped mediocre player is the MVP of an overhyped mediocre team.
3. Oklahoma State still has a lot of basketball to play this year, but let's talk about next year for a minute. What does the future look like in Stillwater? How are the Cowboys going to replace Le'Bryan Nash, Anthony Hickey, and the other four seniors?
The loss of Nash, Hickey and Cobbins are big blows to this team. Budke, Sager and Soucek are all great teammates and make the team better in their own way. I can't remember a time in recent memory where the Pokes have lost so much. That being said, the future is bright (kind of). Next year the Pokes will rely heavily on Jeff Newberry and Phil Forte to do a lot of scoring but they'll also look to commit Juwan Evans who will start next season.
The future is dim in the sense that Travis Ford is still going to be around. As long as Ford is around the Cowboys will continue to plummet into irrelevancy as far as I'm concerned.
4. What do you think the Cowboys need to do Wednesday night in order to snap their skid and pick up a home win over the Horned Frogs? On the flip side, what do you think will be the keys for TCU to sweep the season series with Oklahoma State?
The Frogs haven't won in Stillwater in like 873 years and I think that will be the rallying cry of the Cowboy faithful tonight. GIA is going to be rocking (especially with free admission) and the arena might even be half full (LOL) for Senior Night.
I think that Nash and Cobbins both play well in their final home game but the X-Factor will be Forte. If the token white guy that can shoot comes to play on Wednesday then the Pokes will find success. The Cowboys will also need to rebound the basketball because TCU will make you pay if they manage to grab offensive rebounds.
If the Frogs want to sweep the Pokes then they'll need to stay poised in Stillwater tonight. The Frogs will need to rely heavily on Anderson to lead them to victory. This game is huge for both teams, who at the end of the day still have a shot at the NCAA Tournament.
5. Finally, what is your prediction for the game? Will the Pokes turn things around and knock off TCU at home? Or can the Frogs pick up their first win in Stillwater since 1925? (Seriously... 1925. Calvin Coolidge was President. Who even is that? Anyway, the Frogs won the game 37-16. TCU is on a seven-game losing streak in Stillwater.)
I'll take the Pokes in this one just because there is so much on the line and it's Senior Night. Oklahoma State scraps their way to an ugly 67-60 win to keep their tourney hopes alive.
Special thanks to Josh Poteet and the team at Cowboys Ride for Free. Look for continued coverage of TCU vs. Oklahoma State right here leading up this evening's game.