CNHI News Service
It may be cliche when Travis Ford said tonight’s road game against Bedlam rival Oklahoma is no bigger than any other Big 12 Conference game, but in all actually, the next game on the schedule for Oklahoma State is quite possibly the biggest.
The Cowboys have never won in Norman under Ford — and in fact have not won at Lloyd Noble Arena since 2004. And while Bedlam bragging rights are on the line, the biggest picture falls to the Big 12 standings.
The loser of today’s contest on ESPN will fall three games behind league-leading Kansas — and would find themselves mired in a logjam in the middle of the conference standings.
“It would mean a lot to me and the program,” Cowboy senior guard Markel Brown said. “Coach Ford hasn’t even won there since he’s been here, so it’d mean a lot to this program to get a road Bedlam victory. And more importantly, it’d be another win under our belt and improve to 5-2 in the Big 12 and leave us in a great position for the rest of the season.”
In order to have a shot at winning the program’s first Big 12 championship in 10 years, winning on the road will essential for the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State has already lost two games on the road this year and have only won a combined nine conference road games the past five seasons — with last year’s 5-4 mark being Ford’s first winning conference road record in five years at OSU.
While winning on the road has been something this squad has been able to accomplish, with the biggest being at Kansas last season, there is still the lingering losses to OU.
“It’s always a battle. That game, it’s a highly anticipated game, everybody is waiting to see it,” Brown said. “It’s Bedlam. Everyone brings their A game, so it’s going to be a hard-fought game.”
Oklahoma (6-4, 5-2) has won three straight games, including Saturday’s 74-65 win over Texas Tech at Lubbock. The Sooners began that streak with a two-point win at Waco against Baylor and have also knocked off Iowa State two weeks ago, handing the Cyclones their first loss.
“We’re just trying to build,” said Cameron Clark, who scored 16 against Tech.
It’s the first time in nine seasons both teams come in ranked in the Top 25. OSU is No. 11 and OU is No. 25 with fresh polls out today.