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STILLWATER, Okla. - Oklahoma State's men's basketball team earned a #9 seed and will play 8th seeded Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday 5:50 central time.
If the Cowboys win, they would play the winner of the game between top seeded Wisconsin and #16 seed Coastal Carolina.
OSU in the West Region and is making their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 27th in school history.
Oregon is 25-9 on the season, and finished tied for second place in the Pac-12 Conference this year, losing to Arizona in the conference tournament championship game.
Oregon beat OSU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament two years ago, 68-55, in San Jose, California.
Quotes follow from the OSU head coach and players:
Head Coach Travis Ford
On if he knew that the team was in the NCAA Tournament beforehand:
“I did. I felt pretty confident about it for a while, really, based on what the committee looks at. For us, we got in for what we did accomplish, not what we didn’t. We won a lot of big games against some great opponents and played in the best league in America. We’ve played a very difficult schedule, and we were rewarded for that as far as getting into the NCAA Tournament. That’s a great achievement for our team. I don’t remember anybody predicting us (to miss the tournament), other than everybody predicting we would not make the NCAA Tournament prior to this season. I’m proud that we’re in it, and now we’ve got to figure out how to beat a very good basketball team.”
On playing Oregon in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years:
“We’re different. I don’t know a whole lot about their team quite yet, but I don’t think there are a lot of players left from their team (from two years ago). We have three or four guys that played on that team. Kind of like the last time, I know they’re hot right now. They played in the Pac 12 Tournament finals, no different than the last time we played them. They’re playing really good basketball. I know they’ve got one of the top players in the country in Joseph Young, who is averaging over 20 points a game and is an extremely talented player. They have other great players. Oregon itself has great basketball tradition and is a great school. Dana Altman is a great coach. We know each other from the names of the schools. I’m sure when we popped up and they saw us, they were like “Hey, we remember them.” They probably have a little better taste in their mouth than we do from that game, but obviously we’re familiar with each other as far as names.”
Forward Le’Bryan Nash
On if he was nervous before the team was selected:
“No, I wasn’t. I woke up this morning confident in our team. When the Kentucky game was going on, I looked at the bottom and Joe Lunardi had us locked in. I had confidence in our resume. We’re ready. That’s all I can say.”
On if he was surprised the team would be facing Oregon again:
“No, it’s a great story. It’s a chance. It’s another opportunity to redeem ourselves from two years ago. It’s a blessing being in the tournament. There are 68 great teams out there, and it feels good to be one of them.”
On if he watched Oregon play Arizona in the Pac-12 title game:
“Yeah, I did. They have an explosive guard that I think won Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year in Joseph Young. I’m friends with him from back in Texas. It’s going to be a good game. They have a good team. We’ve got to play to our identity, play to our strengths and we’ll be good.”
Guard Anthony Hickey
On his emotions when he learned that the team would be in the NCAA Tournament:
“I had to walk around a little bit. The waiting is the worst part about it, seeing other teams’ names called. When your name gets called, it’s a relief. I couldn’t stop smiling. I’m just happy it’s finally here. I get to go to the tournament.”
On what he knows about Oregon:
“They have nice guards. I know they play fast tempo, and they’ll slow it up a little bit. They shoot the ball pretty well. It’s all about defending and hustle plays. It doesn’t matter about made shots or missed shots. We’ve just got to defend and make the hustle plays.”