Oklahoma State headed home on Friday from Kansas City, but the season is far from over and Cowboys coach Brad Underwood wants the fans to be there Sunday to find out what the NCAA has next in store for the Cowboys.
At 10 a.m. Friday morning the Cowboy Express pulled out of Kansas City heading down I-35 and back home to Stillwater. Oklahoma State was ousted on Thursday by Iowa State 92-83 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship, but the Cowboys at 20-12 on the season live to play on and will receive an at large berth on Sunday in the NCAA Tournament. Cowboys head coach Brad Underwood spoke to me by phone on the Sports Talk with Robert Allen and Friends radio show and said he was watching Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament on his lap top. He also, without being asked spoke about the Iowa State game and again, broke down the reasons the Cowboys lost proving his 24 hours wasn't up on the "24 hour rule," you know the rule that you have to let a game go, win or lose, after 24 hours.
Underwood is still excited and while he will give his players some time off, outlining that they will lift only with the strength coach on Saturday and then have a short practice on Sunday, he is excited about next week, the NCAA, and something new at Oklahoma State and that is the team sharing the selection show experience with the fans on Sunday at the Conoco-Phillips Alumni Center with the doors opening at 4 p.m.
"This isn't about just that moment," Underwood said. "One of the great things you get to experience with the NCAA Tournament is the Selection Show and it is a thank you for our fans to be a part of it. I want the students to be a part of it, even though I know a lot of our students will be gone with spring break. This is for everybody and it is a celebration and the culmination of a heckuva season and we want to get everybody together to see where we are going to play and who we play in the NCAA Tournament."
Then came the lament of not defending Iowa State well enough on Thursday and not making enough shots, but it was quickly back to celebrating the NCAA experience.
"The Big 12 Tournament is not the end all and to have everybody back together there on Sunday to celebrate is a special event," Underwood added. "We used to have 400-to-500 fans with us at SFA (Stephen F. Austin) and it is fun to see all this together and it makes the players feel good and they can thanks the players for all their support this season."
For the next 48 hours as 20 more teams earn automatic bids into the NCAA and the conference tournaments all conclude, Underwood will be watching.
"I actually get to watch other teams play, and many of them I haven't see all season long," Underwood said.
Now, this is good stuff. This is not a weekend off for the basketball staff. No, they don't know who they will be playing but the video staff has been recording games all year, especially the last two weeks, and the scouting reports are already being worked on, so that when Oklahoma State appears on the screen on Sunday, it won't take but seconds for the staff to become familiar with the other name that appears next to the Cowboys.
"All three of the full-time coaches, Stephen Gentry, and our video people they will get together and meet," Underwood explained. "I'll throw a scenario out there, let's say we are playing an SEC opponent, then Lamont Evans being from the SEC and having familiarity then he might take that scout, and then they'll divide up who is in that second game (in the OSU bracket) and Mike(Boynton) and Danny (Henderson) would take those teams. You know Stephen Gentry will dive into that first round opponent because he does a lot with me as far as analytics and the numbers. We will all get a folder as to who it is. When I go to media (interviews) after the selection show and then a lot of my night will be dealing with the media and different shows, I'm informed, I got cynergy numbers and all the information right in front of me. Patrick Schulte (video operations) has got folders and info on all possible seeds (6-10) and he has all the information pulled. Joey Biggs, basketball operations will start diving into travel and figure that part out. How we get there and where we practice and when we practice. Everything happens quickly and it is a very intense 72 hours."
You're invited to get it started Sunday for the first team and fan watch party that I think Oklahoma State basketball has ever held.