Why Oklahoma St. is motivated after being 'slighted a little bit'

Yahoo Sports' Krysten Peek chats with Oklahoma State basketball coach Mike Boynton about the 2021 NCAA Tournament and standout guard Cade Cunningham

Video Transcript

- All right, one of those teams that some of us are high on in the Midwest region, Oklahoma State. Krysten caught up with head coach Mike Boyton earlier today, who admitted the Cowboys have a little extra motivation entering the tournament.

KRYSTEN PEEK: What was your reaction to the number four 4 spot? I mean, OSU beat six ranked opponents to close out the season, including beating West Virginia twice, who ended up a 3-seed? Does that give your team a little bit more motivation and something to prove?

MIKE BOYTON: Our kids are motivated by all kinds of things. I think first and foremost, they are appreciative of the opportunity to be in the event. I've told them all year long, even as we face the possibility of not being able to play, that if we put ourselves in a position to be in it, and we get in, you'll be a part of something that you'll never forget. This is what I truly believe, the best sporting event in all of sports.

I want them to enjoy being a part of it. But I also want them to keep in mind that yeah, we were slighted a little bit. We had the second-most quad one wins behind only Illinois. And so we thought we were certainly worthy of a 3-seed, thought maybe we could make an argument for us being a 2-seed. But our guys are certainly ready to prepare for a really good [INAUDIBLE] team and be excited to have an opportunity to compete.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Oklahoma State is one of the hottest teams entering the tournament. You said this team is moving from good to great. When did you start seeing that transition happen, and what makes this a great team ready to make a run in the tournament?

MIKE BOYTON: Well, I saw some glimpses of it really early on in practice. But you don't know what you have until you get into the competition part of your season. But our last three or four weeks have really elevated our confidence, because again, we played probably the hardest stretch of any team in the country to finish the season. And I think that's really given us some really strong momentum heading into this tournament, and we look forward to it.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Cade Cunningham, Big 12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year-- how special has it been for you to coach him this year and see his growth?

MIKE BOYTON: I sometimes have to remind myself that he's 19, because obviously, he came in with a lot of hype, deservedly so. I think he's the best player in the country, period.

But what he's done for and with our program is truly, I think, still a little underappreciated. And so I'm very thankful that he stuck with us, that he believed in us, and humility to go about it the right way. You know the kid well. He's so respectful, and he works so hard, that he's getting everything that he deserves. And there's more to come with that kid.