CHICKASHA – The Drovers aren’t down and out yet, even after struggling in the series against Oklahoma Baptist.

USAO is sitting at 12-15 in conference play with two other teams, all battling to get into the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, which begins May 10. Only the top six teams make it in the tournament.

With a sweep over conference rival Northwestern Oklahoma State (14-13 in the SAC), the Drovers most likely secure their spot in the tournament.

Of course, it’s not that simple. A lot depends on how the rest of the conference games play out.

Right now, USAO is tied with Oklahoma Baptist and Rogers State, and both teams have the initial advantage over the Drovers. The Bison go on to play Saint Gregory’s (4-22) this week, while Rogers State battles Oklahoma Christian (11-16). If all three teams sweep their opponents, the Drovers may be left out.

Also in the mix is Southern Nazarene (15-12), who plays Oklahoma City (21-6). If OCU can take all three from the Crimson Storm, and USAO, OBU and RSU also grab the sweep, it will go into a four-way tie and will have to go into a second tie-breaker, in which USAO may have the advantage.

Four sweeps in the same week doesn’t seem likely for this tough conference, however, and a lot is still up in the air. Coach Mike Ross says the Drovers just need to do their part and win all three against the Rangers.

And we can hope that’s enough.

Published: May 3, 2010