Big 12 Breakdown: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State Cowboys have had some great wins this season by beating North Carolina State by 20 in Pureto Rico, and Tennessee on the road. They have also lost some close ones to Gonzaga at home and at Kansas State. They are 12-5 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12. They have beat TCU and Texas Tech, who just recently had an impressive win against Iowa State. Their next two games are at home against West Virginia and Iowa State. These two home games are crucial for this team. They need to come out victorious in both games.
They are still looking for team chemistry and a solid win in the Big 12. They have one of the best freshmen in the league, Marcus Smart who Baylor Coach Scott Drew said that, “He’s one of the best defensive players in the country and leads the Big 12 in steals, and he is tenacious.” Smart is defiantly a player who handles the pressure and is persistent in reaching his goals every game. He has great skills on both sides of the ball and loves to steal the ball. Even NBA scouts have been keeping an eye on him and come to most of his games. Smart came to Stillwater with a promise to change the culture of this program.
The main problem the Cowboys are having right now is winning on the road. They struggle on both sides of the ball when they visit an opposing teams place. They are 0-3 on the road in the Big 12 and Smart, Le’Bryan Nash and the Cowboys have to regain focus if they want to compete and have a shot at both a conference championship and an NCAA tournament bid. It is hard to win on the road but you need to in the Big 12 to make a impact. If they want a chance to do anything and make a difference they need to win on the road. They have seven road games left and can have a chance to pick up a win against either Kansas which would really boost their confidence, Texas or Texas Tech.
They have been playing okay at home but really haven’t played a tough team yet. Their only impressive win at home was against Texas Tech. There have also been several inconsistencies with this team starting with Nash. He has been cold and hot but when he is hot he is on fire. They have three great players who step up to the rim and can knock down shots. Nash, Smart and Markel Brown have been the main scorers this season. They need to get more action from their bigs and they need to let Nash drive more to the rim.
The Cowboys haven’t made much of an impact yet on the Big 12 but there are plenty of games left for them too. Their half-court offensive sets aren’t active enough and they lack the vision to pass it to the open shooter when they need to. They also need to hang onto the ball more, costly turnovers hurt you in every game. Hopefully they will finally play to their potential and get Smart and Nash to play like they should be. They need to stay at arm’s length with the top 5 in conference play now and not let them pull away. In the end the Cowboys will end up in 4th place in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State and Kansas.