Thursday, March 9, 2006

Season’s fate on the line for OSUISU


— A day after legendary Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said he might not be done coaching, Sutton's son and OSU interim coach, Sean, said the Cowboys weren't done playing, either.

"We are excited about playing tomorrow, and I think our guys feel good about ourselves, especially how we have played down the stretch," said Sean Sutton, who has guided OSU (16-14 overall, 6-10 Big 12 Conference) to a 3-4 record after his dad took a medical leave of absence Feb. 13.

"I think the Texas game gave us a lot of confidence and reaffirmed the players that, when we play at a high level, like we are capable, that we can play with most teams in the country," Sutton said of seventh-seeded OSU, who takes on No. 10 Iowa State at 6 tonight in the American Airlines Center. The winner gets a 6 p.m. date with second-seeded Kansas University on Friday.

ISU coach Wayne Morgan isn't looking past the Cowboys, but said he would welcome a third game against KU.

"I think we will have a great effort," Morgan said. "Oklahoma State, we have respect for their program, and it will be a tremendously good game."

Cyclone guard Will Blalock said he thought Iowa State had a shot to make a run deep in the conference tourney, which could help ISU increase its resume for a possible postseason bid.

"We have a winning record, but at the same time we are not coming here for a vacation," he said. "We are trying to win four games to try to get to the NCAA Tournament, and if not, then we will try to finish the year strong with an NIT bid, if anything."

O-State guard JamesOn Curry said he hadn't heard Eddie Sutton's comments to the Tulsa World about possibly coming back to coach next season, but said he would love that scenario.

"Who wouldn't want to be coached by a legend," Curry said of Sutton, who needs just three more wins to become only the fifth major-college coach to reach 800 career victories.

Fresh start

Missouri interim coach Melvin Watkins said his team had done a good job of deflecting the troubles of Quin Synder's departure and refocused on playing as a team.

"We are glad to be at this point of the season where we can get a fresh start. I've tried not to spend too much time worrying about that and focus a little more about getting these young men ready," Watkins said of the No. 11 Tigers, who have a rematch against sixth-seeded Nebraska at 8:30 tonight. "We have to be ready to take one game at a time and extend our season."

Taking it into his own hands

Colorado leading scorer Richard Roby said a sure way to burst the Buffaloes' NCAA Tournament bubble status would just be to keep winning.

"We have to come out and get wins," Roby said of CU (19-8, 9-7), who plays No. 12 Baylor at 2 p.m. today. "We don't want to leave it (NCAA bid) up to opportunity. We want to win the tournament and get the automatic bid, but we have to take it one game at a time."

Wooldridge not worried

Kansas State coach Jim Wooldridge again had questions brought up his job status for next season, but once again said that topic had been a non-issue with his 15-12 Wildcats.

"I think you guys (media) have been the ones who handle it all - the talking and writing you think is important," he said.


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