Oklahoma State Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Oklahoma State Cowboys
Big 12 (24-8, 13-5)

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Oklahoma State turned a few heads this season.  Generally a good team, a lot of people were expecting a middle of the pack finish for the Cowboys this year.  As it turns out, Oklahoma State was tied for the best record in the conference at the mid-season mark.  January and February were their two best months.  They put together a streak of seven wins to solidify their tournament bid.  Stillwater was electric when freshman Marcus Smart affected the game.  He has been one of the best in the Big 12 all season long.

Big Wins: 11/18 vs North Carolina State (76-56), 2/2 at Kansas (85-80), 3/9 Kansas State (76-70)
Bad Losses: 12/1 at Virginia Tech (71-81), 1/21 at Baylor (54-64), 3/6 at Iowa State (76-87)
Coach: Travis Ford (5 seasons at Oklahoma State)

Why They Can Surprise:
This is a team that can score points when they are playing a prolific offense.  They tend to match an opponent’s intensity.  They average nearly 73 points per game.  Their best asset as a scoring team is their ability to spread it to multiple guys.  They have four players that average double figures.  Even better for Ford, there are eight guys that average over 16 minutes per game.  That depth will help as teams get further and further into the postseason.  Junior guard Markel Brown leads the way.  He is second on the team in scoring and first in minutes.  Don’t let the strong offensive numbers sway you.  The Cowboys can play defense as well.  They hold opponents to a paltry 39.0 percent from the field, and they average nearly five blocks per game.  They are also second in the conference in steals per game at nearly eight.  Oklahoma State has the goods to make a few people nervous in the tournament.  Smart turned heads early in the season as a freshman.  The point man could be a star in the making if he wills this team to some tournament wins.

Why They Can Disappoint:
If statistics tell the story, Oklahoma State falls short in a few areas.  They are not very adept at shooting three-pointers.  Thirty-two percent is not a strong number for a team that has to play against great shooters night in and night out.  The inability to close gaps late in games could be a problem for them.  Perhaps more maddening for Ford is that the Cowboys average 12.5 turnovers per contest.  Winning gets more difficult when you cannot possess the ball.  Come tournament time, possessions will be important.  For what it’s worth, they are more of a shot-creation, clean-up the offensive glass type of team.  They do not rank very high in assists nationally, though they do seem to win consistently without a high number in that area.  They also send opposing teams to the line quite a bit, which may haunt them in the postseason.  Free points for the opponent is not a recipe for success.  Also, as deep as the Cowboys are, they are down a couple players because of injury and eligibility issues.  That ends up being a lot of minutes off the board.

Probable Starters:
Marcus Smart, Freshman, Guard, 15.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 5.7 rpg, 2.9 spg
Markel Brown, Junior, Guard, 15.3 ppg, 2.4 apg, 4.5 rpg
Le’Bryan Nash, Sophomore, Guard-Forward, 14.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Michael Cobbins, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Philip Jurick, Senior, Center, 2.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Phil Forte, Freshman, Guard, 10.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Kamari Murphy, Freshman, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Kirby Gardner, Junior, Guard, 1.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.8 (57th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.4 (63, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.4 (113, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.0 (29, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (231, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.8 (251, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.8 (22, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (119, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (206, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (107, 4)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2011    NIT        First Round win over Harvard
2011    NIT        Second Round loss to Washington State
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Georgia Tech
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Tennessee
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Pittsburgh
2008    NIT        First Round loss to Southern Illinois
2007    NIT        First Round loss to Marist

*all team stats through 3/10


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