March 1, 2008

Doubleheader starts month of Madness

March is the month of basketball.

So it's appropriate that both of Oklahoma State's basketball teams play at home on the first day of the month where Madness is not only expected, but aimed for.

Gallagher-Iba Arena will be the site for both men's and women's games today, as the Cowboys take on Nebraska at 12:45 p.m. (ESPN Plus) and the Cowgirls face Texas Tech at 6 p.m. Both teams come into the game needing to win to bolster their post-season hopes. In the case of the ladies, they're needing a win to snap a two-game losing streak. Not only that, but they've also lost three of their past four games. The men, however, are on the opposite end of the spectrum, having won four straight games, including big wins over Texas A&M and Kansas. And while they've been winning lately, the Pokes are still in a precarious position, as making a postseason tournament of some kind is far from a guarantee, much less even probable at this point.

Let's break down what exactly faces the Cowboys and Cowgirls today on the hardwood.

Three weeks ago, OSU (15-12 overall, 6-7 Big 12) was mired in a six-game losing streak and tied with Colorado for last place in the conference race. Now? They're winners of five of their last six games and are just one game out of fourth place in the standings.

And if they plan on keeping up that hot run, they'll have to beat a Nebraska team they haven't beaten in the regular season since the Final Four year of 2004. OSU did defeat NU in the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City last season, however. The Huskers (17-9, 6-7) come to Orange Country on a roll of their own, as they've won three straight games. In that span, their defense has allowed a salty 56 points an outing. That includes keeping Oklahoma to only 12 first-half points this past Wednesday, a game the Huskers won, 63-45.

NU is led by a big man, one that could cause a lot of trouble for the Pokes this afternoon. His name is Aleks Marik and he is averaging 15.9 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. No one else in the Huskers' starting lineup averages more than nine points a contest.

No matter what happens the rest of the way, this has been a great year for the Cowgirls (21-6, 9-5). The home half of their season wraps up tonight against the Lady Raiders (16-12, 4-10). Typically, home is the place for any team to be, but OSU has lost two of its last three at home.

Coming off a loss to Oklahoma, the Raiders are looking to post a rare win away from Lubbock. So far this year, Tech is 3-7 on the road. They're lead by Dominic Seals, who averages 14 ppg and 8.5 rpg. As a team, the Raiders are one of the better rebounding squads around, ranking third in the Big 12 in defensive rebounding and fourth in offensive boards.

Aside from the game itself, it should be an emotional night for the Cowgirls, as the program says goodbye to its seniors: Maria Cordero and Danielle Green.

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