The competitiveness of Big 12 basketball makes it difficult to prognosticate any team's success or failure in 16 games of conference play. However, most meteorologists of basketball, football, baseball or even water polo will tell you that the more home games a team plays, the better its' chances for a winning record.
Unfortunately for O-State, this theory didn't pan out in the first eight games of Big 12 ball.
The Cowgirls had problems protecting their home floor, winning just one game in five tries in Stillwater. Yet, in defense of Coach Julie Goodenough's squad, OSU's last two home losses, No. 7 Baylor (16-3, 6-2) and Nebraska (13-7, 5-3), went down to the wire.
With just seconds remaining, a pair of Steffanie Blackmon free-throws and a Kiera Hardy lay-up handed Oklahoma State two defeats in a three-day span.
"Anybody that plays Baylor to two and plays a very solid, tough-to-beat Nebraska team to two is playing quality basketball," said K-State Coach Deb Patterson. "At some point they're going to get over the hump and they're going to find a way to beat somebody."
All the same, losses such as these are tough to bounce back from because it doesn't get any easier on the road in February and March when the stakes are higher.
Today O-State enters the contest against a team that has held its' home court 22 consecutive games versus Big 12 foes.
This is a Kansas State squad with five seniors that fully understand what it takes to be successful in the Big 12. Over the last three seasons the Wildcats have lost only six games.
Six road losses, that is.
Add two more this season. One thumping at Ames and the other a ten-point defeat last Wednesday at Baylor.
The loss in Waco dropped K-State to third-place behind league-leaders Iowa State and Texas Tech. Four wins in the remaining four games at Bramlage Coliseum will be essential in the quest for another conference championship.
Whether it's Hilton Coliseum, United Spirit Arena, Gallagher-Iba Arena, or Bramlage Coliseum, protecting home court in the Big 12 is like wearing those ruby slippers, (here's where I apologize for my first and last Wizard of Oz cliché), because honestly, there's no place like home.
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