Cowboys Play First Game at 11:30 a.m

Oklahoma State, which moved up to No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25 released Monday, will play its first-round game in the NCAA Tournament at 11:30 a.m. Friday (Central time). OSU, 24-6, will face Southeastern Louisiana, 24-8, in the first of four games to be played Friday at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

The Cowboys moved up to No. 6 (from No. 10 in last week's poll) in this week's AP Top 25 poll after winning three games in three days in the Big 12 Conference Tournament over the weekend in Kansas City. OSU also climbed to No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll released Monday afternoon.

Other games scheduled for Friday at the Ford Center are:
* 2 p.m.: Southern Illinois, 26-7, vs. St. Mary's, 25-8
* 6:20 p.m.: Wisconsin, 22-8, vs. Northern Iowa, 21-10
* 8:50 p.m.: Kansas, 23-6, vs. Bucknell, 22-9

If Oklahoma State should defeat Southwestern Louisiana in the first round it will play its second-round game Sunday against the winner of the Southern Illinois-St. Mary's game.

OSU, which has been sent to the Eastern time zone in 11 of its 12 NCAA Tournament appearances with Eddie Sutton as head coach, is happy that the selection committee decided to keep them close to home.

"We're playing in our back yard and that's Oklahoma City and we are going to be jacked up," OSU point guard John Lucas said minutes after watching the selection show Sunday afternoon. "Our fans are going to be jumping. And having all that support is almost going to be like playing at Gallagher."

Sutton told reporters that he has been told that more than half of the tickets for this weekend's games at the Ford Center had been purchased by OSU fans.

Sutton is glad that the Cowboys were sent to Oklahoma City for two seasons -- it allows more OSU fans to see their team in action and it gives his team an extra day of rest after playing three games in three days in Kansas City.

"First of all we don't play until Friday," Sutton said. "We're tired and we'll be able to go home, and we don't have school because it's spring break, and I think the guys can get their batteries recharged and I think that's important.

Team practices on Thursday at the Ford Center are open to the public. Here is Thursday's practice schedule:
Noon: Southeastern Louisiana
1 p.m.: St. Mary's
2:10 p.m.: Oklahoma State
3:10 p.m.: Southern Illinois
5 p.m.: Wisconsin
6 p.m.: Kansas
7:10 p.m.: Northern Iowa
8:10 p.m.: Bucknell

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