March 8, 2007

Backs against the wall

When you're down by as many as 29 points to a team, lose to them, then have to go up against them three nights later, you've either got a great shot at redemption or are about to fall into an embarrassing double-play.

That's the scenario Oklahoma State faces tonight when they go up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. The No. 7 seed Cowboys tip off against the No. 10 seed Cornhuskers at 6:20 p.m. inside Oklahoma City's Ford Center.

At least this game against Nebraska (17-13 overall, 6-10 Big 12) will be a quasi-home game for the Cowboys (20-11, 6-10). While the Pokes were horrible in true road games this season, going winless, OSU did fare pretty well in the neutral-site games, posting a 5-1 mark.

That's the most optimistic mark for OSU fans to take in, since the Pokes have a shot to play at neutral courts the rest of the way, if they win four-straight in OKC and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which is also all-neutral. But flukey stats aside, OSU's only way to get to the Tournament is to win out, though making it to the finals with projected wins over Texas A&M (the likely Friday opponent) or Texas (the likely Saturday opponent) could help OSU at least get back on the bubble, since they'd have 23 wins at that point.

But before OSU can even think about that, they have to take care of business tonight against a team that blew them out worse than the final score of Monday's game indicated. In that one, the Cornhuskers won 85-73, but had a sizeable lead for a big chunk of the game. Only a late surge for OSU and NU putting things in neutral made the game close.

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