NORMAN — Two schools of thought:
One, anything good for your rival can’t be good for you. Rooting for your conference or your state may be nice in theory, but sports are a zero-sum game. Rooting for your rival is insane.
Two, we’re all in this together. The better the teams, the better the rivalry, the better it is for the fans and the better it is for this sport. Yes, only one team may win, but the greater good is the greater good, for everybody.
On that note, welcome to Bedlam women’s basketball, where No. 22 Oklahoma State visits No. 23 Oklahoma at 4 p.m. today at Lloyd Noble Center.
A one-sided rivalry for a long time, the Sooners (17-5, 7-3 Big 12) have beaten the Cowgirls (16-5, 5-5) in 26 of 28 meetings. But under the late Kurt Budke and Budke’s top assistant and successor Jim Littell, OSU is approaching its fifth 20-win season in seven years and arrives in Norman ranked one spot in front of the Sooners and of its starting five, only Toni Young is a senior.
Good for Bedlam?
Good for the Sooners?
OU coach Sherri Coale has remained consistent over the years. If she doesn’t root for her rival, she nonetheless appreciates the Cowgirls’ ascension without reservation and loves competing in a conference of heavyweights.
“Any time our league is strong, it helps us all. As the water rises, so do the boats,” she said. “I know there’s a lot of interest in this game on Sunday because it’s Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, but also because it’s two very good teams fighting in the upper echelon in conference play.”
If only Coale’s players were equally charitable.
Junior point guard Morgan Hook said the rivalry may not be as heated as Bedlam football but, “We’ve had some issues in the past that have made the rivalry spark up.”