Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Experts still say Frogs headed to Waco

Sadly, this fine dining establishment has recently shuttered its doors

With just the conference tournaments remaining, the NCAA Baseball Tournament picture has really started to take shape in recent weeks.  The good news is that, despite slipping to the #2 seed in the MWC Tournament, the Frogs won't be playing for their postseason lives this weekend in Vegas: Baseball America projects them as a tournament team either way.

To read the tea leaves of the so-called experts, Frog fans can pencil in a trip to Waco for the first weekend in June.  Scoffing at the idea of tourism in a city that is essentially just a place to stop to go to the bathroom?  They actually have a trio of entertaining museums- the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Dr Pepper Museum and the Texas Ranger museum- that, along with the ruins of the Branch Davidian compound and Britney Griner's adam's apple, mean that there is no shortage of sight-seeing to do in this city that always smells like a Denny's when I drive through.

Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA has a projected Waco Regional that includes #1 seed Baylor, #2 seed TCU, #3 seed Sam Houston State (RPI: #49) and #4 seed Prairie View A&M (RPI: #228).  Mark Etheridge of SEBaseball.com's latest projections include a Waco Regional that includes Baylor, TCU, Prairie View and Wichita State (RPI: #44) as the #3 seed.

In either case, the team that emerges victorious from the Waco Regional would meet the winner of the Houston Regional, hosted by Rice.  Among the teams projected to take on the Owls in that regional are Dallas Baptist, Clemson, Oral Roberts, Cornell, Missouri State and Southeastern Louisiana.


Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma State basketball

Hungover much, Eddie?

OSU Hoops at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1908
-All time record: 1,532-1,071
-2 national titles (1945, 1946)
-6 Final Fours (most recent: 2004)
-24 NCAA Tournament appearances
-17 regular season conference titles (1 Big 12)
-4 conference tournament titles (2 Big 12)
-Gallagher-Iba Arena, the "Madison Square Gardens of the Plains", holds 13,611

History with TCU: The Cowboys and Horned Frogs have met 19 times on the basketball court, with OSU taking 17 of those match ups.  TCU's two wins, though, both came north of the Red River: a 37-16 win in Stillwater in 1925 and a 92-61 victory in Oklahoma City in 1986.  Their last meeting, a 66-58 OSU win, came at the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational during TCU's ill-fated 6-win season in 2005-06.  Perhaps the biggest connection between these two programs is that former Horned Frog coach Moe Iba (who won 96 games at TCU from 1987-1994) is the son of legendary coach Henry Iba- who won 655 games and those two national championships at OSU from 1934-1970.

Famous Former Cowboys:
  • Don Haskins: Went on to become a Hall of Fame coach, winning 719 games and the 1966 national title at Texas Western (now UTEP).  They even made a movie about him
     
  • John Starks: Famously went 2-for-18 from the field in Game 7 of the '94 NBA Finals against the Rockets while with the New York Knicks.  Also did stints with the Warriors (twice), Bulls and Jazz and won Sixth Man of the Year in 1997.
     
  • Bryant "Big Country" Reeves: Led OSU to the '95 Final Four and then became the first draft pick ever for the Vancouver Grizzlies.  Ate his way through a six-year, $61.8 million contract and retired midway through the 2001-2002 season.
     
  • Bill Self: He's won 476 games and a national title in his head coaching career at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and his current gig at Kansas. 
     
  • Desmond Mason: The Waxahachie native spent ten years in the NBA with the Sonics, Bucks, Hornets, Thunder and Kings.  He won the 2001 Slam Dunk Contest.
     
  • John Lucas III: The son of former Spur & Rocket John Lucas, Jr, Lucas III originally attended Baylor but transferred after, you know, one of his teammates murdered another one and their coach tried to pin all of the program's misdeeds on the dead guy.  After transferring to OSU, he led the Cowboys to the 2004 Final Four and has played professionally for the Rockets, Bulls and a plethora of teams overseas.

Recent History: After the legendary (coach and drunk) Eddie Sutton retired as OSU's head coach following the 2005-06 season, he handed the reigns to his son Sean.  Gotta love taxpayer-supported nepotism!  The younger Sutton was fired after two NIT appearances and replaced with former UMass head coach Travis Ford.  In Ford's first season in Stillwater, 2008-09, the Cowboys won 23 games and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.  The next year they won 21 games and bowed out in the 1st round of the NCAA's.  The next year they won 20 games and went to the NIT.  Last year they went 15-18 (including winning just two games on the road all year) and didn't make any postseason appearance for the first time since 1990. 

Outlook for next year:  Much like the Frogs, OSU was led offensively last year by a 5'9" senior guard.  Keiton Page, who scored just over 17 per game, hands over the scoring torch to rising sophomore Le'Bryan (French for "The Bryan") Nash, a product of Dallas' Lincoln High who averaged 13.3 per contest as a freshman.  The team's leading rebounder last year was Michael Cobbins, a redshirt freshman from Amarillo.  Ford will need to dramatically reverse the downward slide the program has taken under his watch to save his job, and his hopes will likely be pinned to incoming freshman Marcus Smart.  Smart is a five-star 6'4" shooting guard from Flower Mound who chose OSU over offers from Kansas, North Carolina and Marquette amongst others. 

So THAT's what they're teaching kids at UT...

Morning Dump

Baseball:

Coats out for MWC Tournament with knee sprain Star-Telegram

Preston Morrison named MWC Pitcher of the Week gofrogs.com


Golf:

J.J. Killeen hoping to make a splash at Colonial Star-Telegram

Reminder to help J.J. Henry support Cook Children's Medical Center


Why the internet is awesome: