Oklahoma State Men's Basketball Receives 2021 NCAA Tournament Ban

The Oklahoma State Cowboys were set to miss the 2020 NCAA Tournament before March Madness was canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic. However, with the No. 1 high school basketball player in the nation headed to Stillwater this fall, Oklahoma State was a dark horse candidate to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Unfortunately, that changed Friday, as the NCAA announced that the Oklahoma State men’s basketball program would receive 2020-21 post-season ban, along with additional penalties for NCAA violations stemming from a 2017 FBI investigation.

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The school wasted no time responding to the heavy punishment. In a statement issued by the university, Oklahoma State said they will file an immediate appeal, which will later be heard by the Infractions Appeal Committee.

“The University is stunned by the severity of the penalties and strongly disagrees with them. The Penalties do not align with the facts and are unfair.”

The Cowboys were as short as 35-1 to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament at DraftKings and as long as 100-1 at BetMGM. They have since been removed from both DraftKings and PointsBet, and U.S. sportsbooks are likely to void wagers made on Oklahoma State to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament if the school is unsuccessful in its appeal.

More NCAA Tournament Bans Coming?

Oklahoma State is the first school to receive penalties among a number of programs involved in the 2017 investigation, but chances are they won’t be the last.

Consider the fact that the NCAA charged Oklahoma State with only one Level I violation while charging the Kansas Jayhawks with five. Louisville also had a Level I violation along with three Level IIs during the program’s probation.

That’s not to assume the NCAA will treat all schools fairly. We know better than that by now. But it is something to keep an eye on as you analyze NCAA Tournament futures.

For instance, Kansas currently sits behind only Gonzaga, Duke, Kentucky, and Virginia among NCAA 20-21 favorites at PointsBet.

If more bans are imminent, it might be wise to lock in other NCAA Tournament picks now in case a team like the Jayhawks are removed from betting boards.

What’s Next for Cade Cunningham?

Oklahoma State finished the 2019-20 season 18-14 (7-11 in the Big 12), which would have left them without a ticket to the Big Dance even if the NCAA Tournament had proceeded as scheduled. But things were beginning to look up for the Cowboys and head coach Mike Boynton.

Not only did the Cowboys win six more games than the previous season, but Oklahoma State beat out schools like Kentucky and North Carolina to sign the top-ranked high school player in the nation, Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham also turned down a lucrative offer from the G-League to play college ball.

Boynton addressed Cunningham’s situation Friday afternoon, saying they would look at all available options for the top recruit.

“G-League, overseas, transfer to another school, stay at Oklahoma State…Whatever he decides is best for his future, I’m gonna support 100 percent.”

The G-League seems most likely, but it’s worth noting that Cunningham’s brother is on Boynton’s basketball staff.

If Cunningham ultimately decides to transfer, watch out for Kentucky. The Wildcats were favorites to land Cunningham before he announced his decision. They would likely become favorites to win the NCAA Tournament if they can secure this summer addition.

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Popular NCAA Tournament Teams

At PointsBet, Arizona State 30-1 is receiving 12% of the sportsbook’s NCAA Tournament handle, making them the most popular college basketball team for now. The Houston Cougars 25-1 aren’t far behind with 11%, followed by Florida 30-1 (9%), Iowa 28-1 (8%), Texas Tech 30-1 (5%), and Michigan 30-1 (4%).

[Sign up at PointsBet to get these odds!]

Looking to get in on the action? Check out our favorite early 2021 NCAA Tournament picks.

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • Matt Schmitto (schmitto)

  • Matt Schmitto is the sports betting editor for RotoGrinders. He grew up in Texas, graduating from Texas Tech University. He has played high stakes DFS since 2013, and enjoys betting on golf, basketball, football and whatever else is put in front of him. Schmitto is an advocate of The Bettor’s Oath.

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