It's (Travis) Ford Country!

As Oklahoma State radio voice Dave Hunziker was putting a wrap on his well-educated spin of the Cowboys toppling of No. 1 Kansas Saturday afternoon in Gallagher-Iba Arena, he felt compelled to say it is now time to realize that OSU has a new basketball sheriff in town for all those fans that have not completely bought into Travis Ford as the Pokes head coach.

It is Ford's second season and Saturday was one of the few times that Gallagher-Iba Arena was near capacity to watch his team play.

If Ford has shown any flaws as OSU head coach in his nearly two years on the job it is that he is not Eddie Sutton and he is not Bill Self. He has now beaten the latter head to head and Saturday he and his players notched his first real landmark win that compares to the kind Sutton led Oklahoma State to during his tenure.

I hope Hunziker realizes that he never has to broach that topic again. Travis Ford is Oklahoma State's basketball coach. He has beaten a No. 1 opponent and he has caused Cowboy fans and students to rush the court in celebration of a "sweet" victory.

It would be one thing if Ford had the better team, but Kansas is full of McDonald's All-Americans and collegiate All-American candidates. Now, maybe, James Anderson can get some credit and publicity that might propel him to being an All-American this season.

However, it is a certainty that Travis Ford no longer lives in Sutton shadows. I hate what has happened recently to the Sutton family, and I pray that Sean Sutton will find the strength he needs to fight off the addiction that has plagued him. I know how much he loved being basketball coach at Oklahoma State and how it hurts that he isn't at that job now.

I feel like Eddie Sutton may feel similarly but that is no reason that Travis Ford can't enjoy the same affection from Cowboy fans that the Suttons did. You can love and appreciate history and still love and appreciate current events.

It was no secret that athletic director Mike Holder went after Bill Self first for the Cowboys hoops job, but now Ford has beaten Self in a head to head matchup. The Cowboys became the first team in the Big 12 to beat the mighty Jayhawks this season. The Cowboys outplayed Kansas, and Ford and his staff out-coached Self and his assistants. No rub here, just passing out credit where credit is due.

Way back just before the start of the Big 12 basketball season after a late non-conference game, I asked Travis Ford what his team's recipe for success needed to be. He very distinctly said that he needed Anderson or one of his other starters to play his A-game and that at least one other Cowboy had to play at his "A" level. The rest needed to play at the "B" level. If the Cowboys spit out a bunch of "C's" or below on the game to game report card then it wasn't going to happen.

James Anderson had 27 points, Obi Muonelo had 17 points and Keiton Page had 15 on Saturday. The Cowboys shot 60 percent from the field against the defensive dominant Jayhawks. Matt Pilgrim was 8-of-8 from the field and scored 18 points while Marshall Moses was 4-of-4 from the field with eight points.

The Cowboys hit 10-of-19 from three-point range. They outrebounded KU 36-26 with Pilgrim and Moses combining for 13 boards. The Cowboys led KU 32-26 in points in the paint, 18-6 in points off turnovers, and 4-0 in fast break points. Kansas had no fast break points!

There it is, the recipe Ford was talking about, all "A's" and "B's" on the report card. In fact, atterward Ford was giving out really good grades. "I thought we had seven players come with their A games today," said the happy head coach. "That is the kind of effort and execution that you have to have to beat a team like Kansas."

You can give coaching an A+. No more excuses, Travis Ford is Oklahoma State's basketball coach. He has proven that he belongs in Stillwater, belongs in an orange tie, and for the second season in a row that his team belongs in the NCAA Tournament.

GoPokes Top Stories