Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

March 17, 2014

OSU, Zags to clash in NCAA tournament

Oklahoma State picks up No. 9 seed and heads to San Diego to take on Gonzaga

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State will face a familiar foe in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

It was announced Sunday during the reveal of the bracket that the Cowboys, the No. 9 seed in the West Region, will face No. 8 seed Gonzaga at 3:40 p.m. Friday in San Diego.

It will mark the third time in four years the Pokes and Bulldogs will square off, with the most recent being a close 69-68 loss by OSU in Stillwater a year ago.

"We're a little familiar with them. Both teams are very similar to what they had last year, as far as personnel," Cowboy coach Travis Ford said. "Neither team lost a whole lot, so we're pretty familiar with each other."

While Ford mentioned how familiar the two teams are with one another, he was quick to point out the two teams are still different from a year ago - when Gonzaga was a one seed and lost in the second round to Wichita State, while OSU was a five seed.

"It's a totally different year. I don't think our team gets caught up into whether we won or lost the last game, just that we know the personnel," Ford said.

"We won't put too much stock into it because we are a different team than we were last year - and they're a different team. But I don't think you get too caught up into how that game was played other than certain personnel."

History will be stacked against Oklahoma State with its first-round matchup.

OSU is 0-5 all-time when playing in the West Region - and a staggering 0-7 in NCAA tournament or NIT games played west of Oklahoma City - and is 0-5 all-time against Gonzaga dating back to the first matchup in 2004.

The Cowboys gathered at Ford's residence to watch the selection show, away from any media and cameras - while in-state teams Tulsa and Oklahoma were seen during the Selection Show on CBS celebrating during the announcements - before Ford gathered at Gallagher-Iba Arena to discuss the selection.

"It was more of a personal time. We had all of our families and people within our basketball family there, together, discussing the game and what will happen from this point forward without all the chaos there," the Cowboy coach said. "It was just a different approach and I thought it was better for this basketball team."

Players were not made available following the selection show, but are scheduled to meet with the media before Monday's practice.

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