Oklahoma State Cowboys: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State University (9 Seed, West Bracket)

Record: 21-12 (8-10 in Big 12)

Coach: Travis Ford

Tournament Birth: At Large Bid

Key Wins:  Memphis,  Colorado,  Kansas

Key Losses: Texas Tech, Baylor (2)

Oklahoma State’s season has been a two-sided story. The protagonist, and occasionally the antagonist, has been Marcus Smart. Smart is the best player on a team capable of surprising opponents in the NCAA tournament. He averages 17.8 points, 4.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. A triple-threat stat line for the 6’4″ point guard.

The Cowboys’ season concluded when the Kansas Jayhawks lassoed them in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals. The overtime loss was preceded by a narrow overtime defeat to no. 16 Iowa State that ended a four game win streak, which included a persuasive win over no. 5 Kansas.

The Cowboys lost seven consecutive games in the heart of the Big 12 season, and three of those losses occurred while Smart was suspended for a fan altercation. When the entire team is involved, Oklahoma State has enough talent in their starting lineup to contend with anyone during March Madness.

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

M. Smart

17.8

0.425

0.736

0.302

M. Brown

17.1

0.469

0.766

0.382

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

K. Murphy

6.2

1.8

4.4

1.3

M. Smart

5.7

1.3

4.4

0.6

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

M. Smart

4.7

2.8

2.5

1.9

M. Brown

2.9

1

1.6

1.8

Starting Five

F – Kamari Murphy

F – Le’Bryan Nash

G – Marcus Smart

G – Markel Brown

G – Phil Forte III

Who’s Hot: The three Cowboys. The Cowboys depend on their top three players on the court for at least 30 minutes a game. Guard Smart, guard Markel Brown, and Forward Le’Bryan Nash. Brown and Nash are projected second round picks in the 2014 and 2015 NBA draft. Smart is a projective lottery pick in the 2014 draft, but has seen his stock value fluctuate over a turbulent season. Draft status is earned and money is made in the crunch of March, so Smart will need a prime performance if he hopes to attain a top 10 pick in 2014 draft.

Phil Forte III.  is the Cowboys best shooter at a 44.5% three point percentage. The Cowboys have competed in four overtime games since February third, so reliance on the deep ball with the game on the line is almost a certainty.

Who’s not: The Cowboys on the road. Their record away from Stillwater is an undesirable 3-7. Smart has proven to lose his composure when dealing with a hostile environment. The Cowboys will need Smart dialed in on the game and stuffing the stat sheet with points, assists, and steals for the Cowboys to be a threat in March.

Outlook: Oklahoma State finished the season strong by collecting expected wins and taking one of two vs. a strong Kansas team. The three Cowboys led by Smart need to giddy up if they are making a March statement.

A realistic outlook is that Oklahoma State receives an eight or nine seed in the tournament. According to Joe Lunardi of ESPN, the Cowboys are an eight seed. This seed would position Oklahoma State vs. a one seed in the second round. this is a tough matchup for a team that normally relies on having more talent than the opponent, because  in this case, any one seed would match their talent level.

Commentary by Niles Olson

Sources:

ESPN

Basketball State

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.