Marcus Smart nearly had a quadruple-double — yes, you read that right — as the Oklahoma State Cowboys pummeled the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Big 12 Conference tournament opener on Wednesday night in Kansas City. Smart scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out seven assists, and also recorded six steals in the Cowboys’ victory.
His monster performance has OK State moving on to the second round of the Big 12 tourney, where they’ll meet the top seeded Kansas Jayhawks tomorrow afternoon in what should be one heck of a matchup.
Travis Ford‘s team has undoubtedly gone through quite a roller coaster year, but now, they appear back to being the top 10 team they were at the beginning of the season. And post-suspension Smart is a big reason why. The 6-foot-4 sophomore is one of the top players in all of college basketball and since returning from his three game suspension, he has been nothing short of spectacular.
Oklahoma State is poised to be a serious threat come next week’s NCAA tournament. In addition to Smart, they also have a tremendous supporting cast in Markel Brown, Phil Forte and LeBryan Nash. Make no mistake about it, this is one of the most talented teams in the entire country.
It’s looking more and more like Smart’s suspension was exactly what the Cowboys needed to essentially wake them up. Yes, they lost all three games in Smart’s absence, but they weren’t playing great basketball before that either.
They are now, and that’s all that matters. Look out tomorrow, Jayhawks.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27