KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma State freshmen Marcus Smart and Phil Forte, former teammates at Flower Mound Marcus High School, said they haven’t considered the Cowboys’ potential seeding in the NCAA Tournament, which will be announced at 5 p.m. Sunday.OSU (24-8) lost to Kansas State late Friday night in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.“Not at all, not really,” Smart said. “I haven’t really focused on that part. Whatever seed we get we’re going to take it and we’re just going to go out there and play.”Smart said the loss could be used to the Cowboys’ advantage heading into the NCAA Tournament. OSU shot 30.5 percent from the field.“It was just a rough night overall,” he said. “We were getting good shots, looks we wanted. The ball just didn’t fall our way. We made it to the semifinals. We just lost to a very good team. They were rolling [Friday night]. We were just off our game. It’s a great learning lesson and we have a lot to learn from it and can take it going into the tournament.”Forte, who made two free throws in the closing seconds Thursday to help OSU advance to Friday’s semifinal, said no matter how hard players try to ignore the seeding talk, it’s hard to ignore.“You try not to look at it too much but obviously when you’re watching ESPN all the time you see the bracketology and stuff,” Forte said. “They had us as a five seed. That was their prediction. And I think that’s fair. Obviously, we wanted to keep going in this tournament and hoped to improve that [seeding] but we lost to a good team tonight.”Both players acknowledge that the bigger goal is a deep run in the NCAA Tournament and hope that the sting of Friday’s loss can be used as motivation.“You get to feel that hurt of losing and it sticks with you for a minute so going into the tournament you have a little bit of an edge, a little bit of anger and focus and try to not let it happen again,” Smart said.Said Forte: “We’re going to be facing teams just like Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament. Every team is going to be good and every game is elimination. We’re in the tournament, so we have a chance and that’s all you can ask for.”Good thing goingThe Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., is home to the Big 12 men’s tournament through at least 2016 and the league’s commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, sees no reason not to extend that stay even longer.And with the record attendance, which included a combined 90,687 for the nine games, it’s easy to see why.More than 1.65 million fans have attended 12 Big 12 tournaments in the City of Fountains. For potential competing hosts cities down the road, that’s going to be hard to beat.Quotable“We were missing energy. We didn’t have any zest or zeal for playing. We were a bunch of duds and I think we were missing personality. It wasn’t just TCU, it was a three-game stretch where we looked like that. I think we got that back a little bit.” — Kansas coach Bill Self on his team rediscovering the mojo it lacked during a three-game losing streak in early February.Key stats21 Wins for Kansas coach Bill Self in the Big 12 tournament, surpassing Texas coach Rick Barnes for the all-time lead. Self has won six Big 12 tournament titles.64.2 Combined field-goal percentage for Kansas in its three second halves at the Big 12 tournament.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs