Bubble Watch: Oklahoma State Blows Chance to Secure NCAA Bid

By Josh Paulisin
Oklahoma State vs Iowa State
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Up 45-29 early in the second half, Oklahoma State was cruising. One more win, especially against No. 16 Iowa State, would almost assuredly put the Cowboys on the good side of the bubble.

But after an Iowa State comeback and a game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation, the Cowboys failed to get the win in overtime.

With Marcus Smart on the bench after fouling out, Oklahoma State fell to Iowa State 85-81 in Ames, Iowa. In the first matchup between these two teams, the Cyclones came out with an epic three-overtime 98-97 victory in Stillwater. Saturday afternoon’s sequel was just as good.

Smart led the way for his squad with 27 points while dishing out five assists. Senior Markel Brown added a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds, but the effort wasn’t enough to pull out a win.

Oklahoma State (20-11, 8-10) now needs to use the upcoming Big 12 tournament to seal their bid to the NCAA tournament. The Cowboys will enter the tournament as the No. 8 seed and will take on No. 9 seed Texas Tech on Wednesday night. A win over the Red Raiders won’t do much to add to the resume, but a loss will certainly send the Cowboys to the NIT.

If Oklahoma State can get past Texas Tech, it will face regular season conference winner Kansas. In the latest meeting between the two teams, the Cowboys upset the Jayhawks 72-65 back on March 1. Oklahoma State will have to beat the Jayhawks one more time if it plans on making the Big Dance.

Two wins in the conference tournament would give the Cowboys 22 wins and one more RPI Top 50 win. Currently, Oklahoma State sits with five RPI Top 50 wins which include Kansas (No. 2 in RPI), Texas (No. 26), Colorado (No. 28), Memphis (No. 31) and Kansas State (No. 39).

Oklahoma State may have blown a chance to seal its bid on Saturday, but another chance looms in the Big 12 tournament. A win over Texas Tech avoids a bad loss, but a victory over Kansas will undoubtedly put them in the NCAA tournament.

Josh Paulisin is a College Basketball writer for RantSports. He is also an NHL Contributor. Follow him on Twitter @JoshPaulisin and add him to your network on Google.

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