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Oklahoma State basketball: Biggest matchup tonight could be between Le'Bryan Nash, Travis Releford

The Oklahoman's OSU beat writer John Helsley took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11:30 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
by John Helsley Modified: February 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013
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The Oklahoman's OSU beat writer John Helsley took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11:30 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a look at today's Q&A.

John Helsley 10:59 a.m. Here we go, on a snowy, chilly big game day! Jayhawks in GIA. Bill Self in GIA. First-place in the Big 12 on the line. Marcus Smart and Ben McLemore. The Big 12 and national Player of the Year race perhaps influenced. Just like old times, right? Oh, and the Cowboys are 4-1 on the diamond, too. Bring all your questions. We'll get started shortly...
Chris 11:02 a.m. Marcus Smart for National Player of the Year! Question, regardless of who wins this game, do you see OSU getting a 4 seed in the NCAA tourney very likely. Of course hoping we jump up even higher.
John Helsley 11:03 a.m. Win or lose tonight, it's more about how the Cowboys finish. Win the games they're supposed to, and I think a No. 4 seed is well within grasp. Finishing 1 or 2 in the regular season would be a big boost, as those teams are all but guaranteed a spot in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
JAnderson 11:04 a.m. Biggest matchup tonight, Smart/McLemore or Jurick/Withey?
John Helsley 11:06 a.m. I might say Nash/Releford. If Nash can repeat his energy and attacking mode of Saturday, against OU, then I think he becomes a major wild card for the Cowboys. Yeah, those sexy matchups are important, but I actually lean to thinking the storyline will come down to one of the other guys. Forte or Cobbins, Tharpe or Young.
Del Poke 11:06 a.m. OSU won in Lawrence because Markel Brown found himself white hot from 3. That doesn't always happen. If OSU can't get that the same way tonight, do they have another way to win tonight? Do you have any thoughts about what that way could be?
John Helsley 11:08 a.m. I actually think OSU is the better team. Overall. Up and down. Yeah, Brown got them started in Lawrence, but don't forget, the Jayhawks came back to take the lead. And the Cowboys still pulled it out, with The Phog rocking. Withey represents the only definitive matchup edge for KU. Everywhere else, it's either really close, or the Cowboys get the edge. This isn't one of Self's better teams. It is flawed.
Eric S 11:08 a.m. Do you expect another sellout for tonights game.
John Helsley 11:09 a.m. It's very close to a sellout. I'm a little worried that the weather, combined with the late start, might tempt some people to stay home and watch on TV. But it will definitely be a strong crowd. Expecting great fun.
brewzer 11:09 a.m. How do you see competition for kicker next year with Grogan, Smith, and others?
John Helsley 11:11 a.m. A kicker question? On game day? OK... here goes, I think Grogan needs to seize the job and be the closest thing to a young Quinn Sharp he can be. Not sure I have confidence in the other contenders.
Mike B 11:11 a.m. What is the status of JP? Is he going to apply for a medical redshirt?
John Helsley 11:12 a.m. JP is working hard in rehab, trying to get his knee back right, and he's looking good. You see him on the bench, home and away, and he's been a great supporter. But I'm not sure he's a fit on next year's team. Much returns, with or without Smart, and they've signed five. The scholarship math doesn't add up.
Mike B 11:12 a.m. On the unlikely chance that Marcus smart cones back next year won't OSU be over the limit on scholarships and if so who would lose their scholarship? My guess would be Marek Soucek.
John Helsley 11:16 a.m. OSU is under the limit now -- and pardon my match, I just did a quick count -- but I believe at 11, including JP. If you count him and Jurick out as seniors, that puts them at 9. Then there's Smart. And maybe Nash... If both Smart and Nash returns, they'll have to get creative. That's if everyone qualifies and no one leaves.
Del Poke 11:16 a.m. Why did Phillip Wilson start the 3rd game of the weekend series OSU vs New Mexico. They had a veteran in Wheeland who had starting pitching experience but started a lightly recruited junior college guy with no D-1 experience against a preseason #21 on the road. And then he basically couldn't get an out and they have to pull him after he gives up 5 runs and gets one out. What was up with that?
John Helsley 11:18 a.m. Hate to speak for coach Holliday here, so it's just a hunch, but I think there was some thought into making sure they had some quality arms to fire out at home, with the local unveiling of the new era. I know, too, that they're trying to figure out what exactly they have in some guys. And putting them in stressful situations is the only way to truly accomplish that.
Justin 11:18 a.m. If things all fall in the Cowboys favor here down the stretch, what's the best case scenario for their seeding in the NCAA tournament
John Helsley 11:19 a.m. Well, if things go really well, and let's say they lose one -- at Iowa State -- and win everything else and then win the Big 12 Tournament (how's that for all fall in the Cowboys favor?), I could see them reaching a No. 3 seed.
Jeffrey 11:19 a.m. Question regarding next year: With Stephen clark coming inat point gaurd... if if Smart stays what would Ford do at the point gaurd position?
John Helsley 11:21 a.m. A popular question. I'd guess that he'd play a small lineup, with Smart and Clark sharing the PG duties, and the other getting time off the ball, along with Markel. Those three, Nash and Cobbins. B Williams, Forte, Mostella, Murphy all off the bench. Wow.
JAnderson 11:21 a.m. What did you think of the throwback baseball uniforms? And what are realistic expectations for Holliday's first year?
John Helsley 11:22 a.m. Loved the throwback unis. And how about the Pete on the cap! Like that look, too. Until we see a bit more, I see the Cowboys finishing fourth or fifth in the league. They need some of their quality arms to stay healthy. And they'll need to scrap for runs. But the atmosphere surrounding the club is really good. The team has upside.
Chris 11:23 a.m. Football question. Have you heard anything on the health of LB Jermiah Tshimanga? Guy could be a star in time.
John Helsley 11:23 a.m. All reports on Tshimanga are positive. And you're right, he could be a major factor, if healthy. Will be an interesting spring in Stillwater.
Bill S 11:23 a.m. Speaking of Marcus Smart, EVERYONE is broadcasting that he is 'one/done'. However, I have yet to hear a peep from Marcus either way. In fact, I have not yet noticed a reporter asking him directly. Can you respond?
John Helsley 11:26 a.m. Yes, he's been asked. But he's deferring all comments until after the season. Wise. I'll say this, I think there's a glimmer, if slight, of hope that he returns. He's not your typical kid. Totally unselfish. Won't have a family pushing him to go. He has a great and deep friendship with Forte, who is his roommate. And the team would be a legit Final Four contender if he comes back. There are reasons to return. Of course, there will be millions to go...
JAnderson 11:26 a.m. Couldn't Forte get going from behind the arc? He's been great at home. If he is hitting 3's and Nash goes beast mode like you mentioned earlier OSU would be tough to beat in GIA.
John Helsley 11:27 a.m. Forte is a much better shooter in GIA, which isn't uncommon for freshmen. He's definitely a wild card. Before the first matchup, it might have been said that the Jayhawks had the best two players on the floor in McLemore and Withey. Maybe not now.
John Helsley 11:29 a.m. Nash currently leading the Poll. But no votes for Cobbins? He was huge in the win in Lawrence, hitting jumpers, drawing Withey away from the bucket. Don't sleep on Mike.
Big Nazo 11:29 a.m. With spring football around the corner who are some new guys to look for? Who stood out on scout team while red shirting? Are the DEs that redshirted ready to contribute this yr ?
John Helsley 11:32 a.m. The WRs should be fun to watch, with Curry, Seales and Sheperd joining the competition. Watch QB Dax Garmann, who has a big arm. OT Michael Wilson could be a star. At DE, Trace Clark, Victor Irokansi and Emmanuel Ogbah will all press for playing time.
Mike B 11:32 a.m. I think Michael Cobbins might be the most overlooked but important member of the team this season. Your thoughts?
John Helsley 11:33 a.m. There we go, some Mike Cobbins love. And well deserved. Since getting back healthy and rejoining the starting lineup, Cobbins has been a big factor in this seven-game winning streak. And he keeps getting better.
Guest 11:33 a.m. OU Fan here. What is up with Nash? You here alot of hype on him. Had good game against OU, but is he underachiving givin his hype?
John Helsley 11:35 a.m. OU fan, careful treading in these waters... Nash is a frustrating player, because of his highs and lows. His inconsistency is a difficult for fans and coaches to handle. Sometimes, what happens early in games influences the rest of his game. He's got to keep playing hard and battling. He did that Saturday.
Chris 11:35 a.m. Best two players on the floor? Cmon John. OSU has Marcus Smart. Pulease. Those two are good players though for sure. Should be a good game! :)
Andew 11:35 a.m. What about B. Williams. What sort of impact do you see him having tonight? He didn't play at all in Lawrence so I see him as just one more reason (along with Nash's apparent resurgence) to think we can pull a repeat performance.
John Helsley 11:36 a.m. B-Will is progressing. Offensively, he's a bit limited in that the offense changed dramatically while he was out and he's still catching up to where he needs to be on the floor. His best impact comes on defense. And I'd expect him to get a turn or two on McLemore. Could be a wild card.
Guest 11:37 a.m. IF Nash and Smart were to return, OSU's 2nd 5 off the bench in my mind could finish top half in the league themselves, that is crazy deep: Murphy, Hammonds, Forte, B. Williams, Gaskins, Caroll, Gardner. wow
John Helsley 11:37 a.m. Hmm, wonder if that might make a young lad consider coming back for a shot at fun and fame, rather than toil in Washington or Orlando or Charlotte. Just sayin.
Bill S 11:38 a.m. I think the poll is reflecting who we see as the most consistent producers....ie: Cobbins/Smart/Brown/Jurick have been extremely consistent. However, LB has either been a 'super beast' or non-existent. He is then the KEY player to swing this game either way!
John Helsley 11:38 a.m. Won't argue that point.
John Helsley 11:39 a.m. OK, we've gone overtime. Great chat and great questions and observations. So, who you got tonight. Let's see some predictions!
Guest 11:39 a.m. 82-70 oSu big lead early
John Helsley 11:40 a.m. C'mon, who wants in?
Bill S 11:40 a.m. OSU 59 - KU 58 on Forte 35 footer at buzzer
John Helsley 11:40 a.m. Bill Self, you picking the Pokes?!
brewzer 11:41 a.m. OSU 74 ku 66
Andew 11:41 a.m. 85-76 OSU. Nash goes for 25 and Smart goes back flipping the full length of the court
John Helsley 11:42 a.m. Homers!
Hey, thanks again for the chat. I'll be there tonight, of course, tweeting @jjhelsley and reporting.
Oh, and I've got the Cowboys, too, 76-71
by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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