Cunningham picked the Cowboys over Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, and Washington. He referenced in his video how Oklahoma State hiring his brother Cannen as an assistant coach this year factored into his decision.
Cunningham is from Arlington, Texas and is listed by 247 Sports as the No. 1 combo guard in the country, No. 1 recruit in Texas, and No. 2 player nationally. He is the second commitment for Oklahoma State’s 2020 class and a huge one for third-year head coach Michael Boynton.
Rooting for a team on the NCAA Tournament bubble is a unique experience. Unlike any other sport, teams on the fringes of success pray for a chance to keep playing, with only so much control over the situation. Sure, they could win their conference tournaments, but many face long roads and brutal opponents between themselves and a conference tourney title.
Unlike the first college football team left out of the playoff, most of these teams are supremely flawed. They didn’t win their conference and weren’t ranked near the top of the polls all year. These are teams that just want a chance to prove they aren’t mediocre and make some noise in March. With conference tournaments very much underway, here’s our look at 11 bubble teams hanging on by a thread. Some have a chance to earn their way, but others are already at home, watching and hoping.
1. Notre Dame
The Irish are one of the most interesting bubble teams in years. Notre Dame is only 20-14 on the season, but lost nine of those games without star forward Bonzie Colson. The Irish were also without the services of point guard Matt Farrell in four of the games they lost without Colson. The selection committee has long claimed to take injuries into consideration. Notre Dame will put that theory to the test. Colson and Farrell are both back in the lineup, leading to a win over Virginia Tech early in the conference tournament. The Irish then lost to Duke Thursday, which would have been the kind of win to earn them a bid. Now, like the other teams listed here, they wait.
Illinois has already confirmed Underwood as the new coach in a statement.
Underwood, who coached the Cowboys just 24 hours prior in an NCAA Tournament loss against Michigan, apparently blindsided the school with his abrupt departure. One Oklahoma State official told ESPN’s Andy Katz that he was stunned by Underwood’s departure and learned about it via Twitter. Katz even noted that Underwood had spoken to him just after the game about Oklahoma State recruiting.
Underwood’s tenure at Oklahoma State lasted just less than a full year. He joined them last March from Stephen F. Austin, one of 2016’s prominent tournament Cinderellas. He led the Cowboys to a 20-13 record in his lone season there, salvaging a Big 12 campaign that started off 0-6 by winning 9 of the team’s next ten games and earning a tournament bid.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys drained a three-pointer at the buzzer Friday that was utterly meaningless when it came to the result, but quite the opposite in Vegas.
Michigan led Oklahoma State 92-88 as time ran out in the first round game, but the Cowboys’ Jawun Evans drained a three at the buzzer. His team still lost, but the point spread had Michigan favored by 2.5 — meaning the shot meant a backdoor cover for Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State’s basketball program suffered a terrible loss on Thursday night when junior college transfer Tyrek Coger died after collapsing from heat exhaustion in just his first month with the team.
Coger joined the Cowboys out of Cape Fear Community College in Wilimington, N.C. and arrived on campus in Stillwater just weeks ago on July 5. He was working out with his team when he collapsed from heat exhaustion. He was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
“Tyrek was excited to be at Oklahoma State and had such passion for the game and was looking forward to being an OSU Cowboy. Losing a member of the team is like losing a member of the family. But we know our loss pales in comparison to the pain his family is going through.”
Another Cinderella coach could be well on his way to a power conference job.
Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood could become the Oklahoma State coach before the week is out if his team loses Sunday, according to one report. The Cowboys parted ways with Travis Ford on Friday.
Just texted by very influential OSU booster if #SFA loses Sunday, Brad Underwood could be #OKState's coach before the end of the week.
Underwood is a former Frank Martin assistant at Kansas State, so he’s familiar with the conference. His would-be conference foes West Virginia would also be familiar with the aggressive brand of defense his Stephen F. Austin team plays.
Underwood would join the line of coaches who used NCAA Tournament performances to take the step up to a bigger job. Bruce Pearl did it once, and Andy Enfield did it three years ago.
Oklahoma State deserves plenty of criticism for its current stretch of play. The Cowboys have lost seven straight games and are now 4-19 in the Big 12 after losing to Baylor. Marcus Smart is currently serving a three-game suspension for shoving a Texas Tech fan, but that doesn’t mean is going to sit quietly while people say unkind things about his teammates.
Smart called out Kyle Porter, the guy who runs the popular Oklahoma State blog Pistols Firing, during Monday night’s loss to Baylor. Porter sent a number of negative tweets about the team. Here are a few.
This is embarrassing for Scott Drew. Baylor has four guys who can post up and Nash is out and he's fine with 25-footers.
Oklahoma State point guard Stevie Clark was dismissed from the team on Monday following his second arrest in roughly a month. On Jan. 1, Clark was found to be in possession of marijuana after a traffic stop for a seat belt violation. On Sunday morning, he was allegedly found peeing out of a car window.
Police reportedly spotted Clark at roughly 12:30 a.m. on Sunday urinating out of a moving vehicle that was being driven by someone else. He was arrested and released from jail a few hours later after posting bond. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford told the Tulsa World in a statement on Monday that Clark is no longer with the team.
“We care about Stevie and wish nothing but the best for him,” Ford said. “We want him to find success in his future, wherever that may be.”
Clark, a 19-year-old freshman, was averaging 5.3 points and 2.7 assists per game in a backup role this season. He was suspended four games earlier this season for disciplinary reasons that may or may not have had to do with his marijuana possession arrest. If Clark could just pee in a bottle like a normal person, he might still be a Cowboy.