#22 Oklahoma State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Oklahoma State Cowboys

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #22
Conference Rank:  #2 Big 12

Oklahoma State Team Page#22 Oklahoma State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Oklahoma State Basketball Tickets

Oklahoma State could be primed for a big year.  They return most of their starters from a squad that only lost nine games last season.  Travis Ford has truly led the team to consistent winning.  They have won 20 or more games in all but one year under his tutelage.  This year they are considered to be favorites alongside Kansas for the conference title.  Marcus Smart, Big 12 and national freshman of the year, returns to guide the Cowboys.   

2012-2013 record:  24-9, 13-5
2012-2013 postseason:  NCAA
Coach:  Travis Ford
Coach Record:  104-64 at Oklahoma State, 294-210 overall

Who’s Out:
Oklahoma State will be without the services of Philip Jurick, a long center that manned the paint for Ford.  They will certainly miss his rebounding and ability to block shots.  He did not score a lot of points, but he was smart with the ball and always took high-percentage shots near the basket.  Jean-Paul Olukemi  and Kirby Gardner are also no longer on the roster.  Olukemi, after battling two knees injuries, was denied a sixth year of eligibility.  In just two games last season he was a force (8.5 points per game).  Gardner left the program despite playing in every game last season.

Who’s In:
Ford has done a great job of recruiting.  He has five freshmen coming in this season, all considered decent prospects.  The prized guy is Stevie Clark.  A point guard out of Oklahoma City, he is expected to play significant back-up minutes right away.  They replace a bit of the size they lost in Jurick with Gary Gaskins, a center from Florida.  A couple of wing players arrive in Leyton Hammonds and Jeffrey Carroll.  This is a very good class.  The team is already very skilled.  Now they have young depth.  

Who to Watch:
Marcus Smart will be the center of attention after taking college basketball by storm last season.  He firmly positioned himself in the top five in most statistical categories in the Big 12.  Underrated is his defensive prowess.  He led the conference in steals with three per game.  Many times he was a one-man highlight reel.  His athleticism is off the charts.  The question is whether he should have left early for the NBA.  A subpar season might cost him a bit of money.

Final Projection:
Opponents should fear Oklahoma State.  Kansas is always going to be a force on the national landscape, but Oklahoma State, who beat Kansas last year on the road, is going to vie for its own piece of the pie.  Can they overtake the talented Jayhawks?  It remains to be seen.  No matter what they seemed primed to set themselves up for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament.  Smart is one of the best guards in the country.  They return four players that averaged 10 points or more per game last season.  There is enough firepower to propel this team to an Elite Eight or even a Final Four.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Marcus Smart, Sophomore, Guard, 15.4 points per game
Le’Bryan Nash, Junior, Guard-Forward, 14.0 points per game
Markel Brown, Senior, Guard, 15.3 points per game (2011-2012)
Michael Cobbins, Junior, Forward, 6.9 points per game
Phil Forte, Sophomore, Guard, 10.2 points per game

By the numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.8 (62th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense:63.0 (78, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (135, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.0 (20, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (237, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (254, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.6 (26, 2)
Rebound Margin: 1.4 (133, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.1 (225, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (109, 4)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#3 Marcus Smart
#36 Markel Brown
#39 LeBryan Nash

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruiting:
#57 Detrick Mostella
#82 Stevie Clark