Hoop Time Notebook (OKC Fri. AM edition)

It was a loose bunch of Bison that too the floor of the Ford Center at 10 a.m. for their morning shootaround.

If there was any nervousness or anxiety, it was well masked as they spent an hour shooting before the Oklahoma State Cowboys took the floor to warmup for the first of four games on today’s slate.

“This is the same way they have been all year,” said Bucknell coach Pat Flannery. “They are pretty loose.”

Of course there are about 10 hours between the end of the workout and this evening’s tip, set for 8:50 local time (9:50 back east). The Bison have nothing structured on their schedule between now and then other than a 5:30 pregame meal.

At last night’s press conference, Flannery joked that if any media members knew of any tours that could occupy some of the team’s down time, they should let him know. But it doesn’t seem he was actually concerned. Flannery has pretty much allowed the team to be on its own during free hours since arriving in Oklahoma City Wednesday evening.

That is not much different than the team’s regular road routine.

“Pat never seems big on tours or anything,” said Bison Radio Network play-by-play man Doug Birdsong. “If we see anything, it is usually pretty much on our own.”

That probably is a tribute, in a way, to Flannery’s confidence in his team. He doesn’t feel a need to keep them occupied every moment to keep them out of trouble. And he doesn’t worry about idle time leading to nerves.

Flannery said he likes his team’s mindset.

“You never know, but we think we are ready to go. We will see tonight,” he said. “We prepared well this week. The kids seem focused.”

Flannery insists the looseness has nothing to do with being content just to be here.

“I don’t believe there is nothing to lose,” Flannery said. “This is the biggest game of the season for us.”

TEAM NO NAME – Fans from the other schools who watched the shootaround, or who see them come out for warmups tonight, are bound to wonder about their non-descript warmups.

The team is wearing new blue and white Adidas suits that are as generic as any you could buy off the rack at your local sporting goods store. No orange, no team name.

The new suits are the result of having to hurriedly replace the team’s regular warm-ups they wore all season. Seems those orange and blue duds violated NCAA rules about the size of a manufacturer’s logo on uniforms. The old warm-ups, made by Adidas, which is also Bucknell’s shoe manufacturer, had three vertical stripes running the length of the sleeves. Apparently that made them non-compliant.

SHOOTERS’ PARADISE – We will not know how the Ford Center is from a shooters standpoint until we see the results of today’s games. But an early assessment from Bucknell’s Kevin Bettencourt is very favorable.

“The rims are nice,” said the Bison’s all-time three-pointers leader. “It is a nice place to shoot.”

CLARK UPDATE – Oklahoma native John Clark has been hampered by a foot injury all season. Down the stretch in Patriot League play, it got so bad he was forced out of the starting lineup and saw his minutes off the bench severely limited.

It reached the point were Clark was unable to play in Bucknell’s final two Patriot League Tournament games.

But the 6-7 sophomore forward insists he is ready to go tonight.

“It’s pretty sore, but if I get a little adrenaline going, I’ll be OK,” Clark said.

Any minutes Flannery can get from Clark off the bench will be a bonus in a game where one of the Bison’s biggest concerns has to be keeping its frontcourt guys out of foul trouble.

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