MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 8, 2014

Big 12 today


CNHI News Service

OSU at Texas Tech

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State has become a hot ticket on the Big 12 Conference trail.

The Cowboys have played in a front of a sold-out arena in all of their conference road games, which will extend today with an expected sellout for the Texas Tech game at United Spirit Arena - while they have yet to play in front of a sellout crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena once this year.

"I think we're kind of used to it. We have an experienced group of guys right now, out of the main people who are playing," OSU sophomore shooting guard Phil Forte said. "We've been at the toughest places to play in the country and some tough venues. I think we're used to it by now and we just have to go out there and play our game."

The expended sellout crowd for the 8:30 p.m., which be televised on ESPNU, has reason for excitement around this contest.

The 19th-ranked Cowboys are riding a three-game losing streak, though did look better in Monday's triple overtime loss to No. 16 Iowa State. Texas Tech has also delivered a knockout blow to a previously ranked Big 12 team in Baylor that led to a five-game losing streak.

"They seem like a pretty physical team," senior guard Markel Brown said. "They’re playing great basketball right now. It’s going to be a tough game on the road. We’re just looking forward to winning."

Bringing a new look to the Red Raider program is first-year coach Tubby Smith, who coached Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA championship. The Cowboy

"They're a lot different from last year. Every game they've played has been close," Forte said. "... They have a whole different mindset. They believe they can win any game. Tubby Smith is one of the best coaches in college basketball, so I think he brings a different competitiveness, a different mindset to that team. I think this year you can kind of tell."



Baylor at OU

NORMAN — You have to wonder whether Oklahoma’s mind-numbingly delayed in every way visit at West Virginia was the ultimate team bonding experience or one from which the Sooners  (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) are going to need longer than a day to recover.

In spite of spending the previous 24 hours waiting on delayed flights in Oklahoma City, Newark, N.J., and again in West Virginia, the Sooners, down 14 at one point nearly pulled it out.

The answer should come at 6 p.m. today when they face Baylor (14-8, 2-7) at Lloyd Noble Center. Film preparation certainly isn’t an issue. OU watched plenty on Baylor Thursday while waiting for their flight home.

But OU wasn’t able to practice Thursday as originally planned. Kruger doesn’t believe that will be a major issue because today’s game is the second against Baylor this season.

The Sooners are going for a regular-season sweep. OU ignited a four-game winning streak with a 66-64 victory Jan. 18 in Waco, Texas. The loss was Baylor’s third in four games back then. Since, it has dropped four of five, including Monday’s 69-52 home loss to No. 8 Kansas.