Location: Stillwater, OK
Conference: Big 12
Last Year’s Record: 23-12
Why they’ll make it: Junior guard, James Anderson leads a talented Cowboy group that returns three starters. He along with Obi Muonelo, Marshall Moses, and Keiton Page were all key players to the Cowboys’ run to the Big Dance last season and should continue their quality play this season. Anderson, the leading scorer on last year’s team, will be in the running for Big 12 Player of the Year, while Muonelo might garner all-conference honors himself. In addition to that, the Cowboys welcome a top-20 recruiting class. Coach Travis Ford has the program heading in the right direction and that should include a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Why they won’t make it: Losing Byron Eaton and Terrel Harris is the biggest problem facing the Cowboys this season. In Eaton, they’re losing a little over 14 points-per-game and almost six assists-per-game. In Harris they’re losing about 14 points-per-game and one of their better rebounders. The big thing the Cowboys will miss is the leadership those two provided. Anderson was the top scorer, yet it was Eaton who took the big shot against Tennessee in the Big Dance last season. That’s what they’re missing right now and Coach Ford will have to find the guy to fill that void.