Oklahoma State's Phil Forte the 'x factor' in OSU's Tournament run

Oklahoman Modified: March 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm •  Published: March 18, 2013
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The Oklahoman's John Helsley took questions from readers in today's Oklahoma State Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a look at today's Q&A.

Is Forte the X factor for the tournament? Seems like when he’s “on,” OSU’s offense is significantly more dangerous.

The Cowboys need Forte to be a factor, for sure. And his improved shooting in the Big 12 Tournament, after previous struggles away from GIA, was a good sign. But I say Cobbins is the X factor. He needs to be healthy, one, but he'll likely be in the spotlight inside as the Cowboys face a series of more athletic inside players.

Why was Michael Cobbins in a sling at the selection show?

Cobbins had his shoulder pop out of place during Friday's loss to Kansas State, then had it popped back in. He did return to that game and finished it. He was in a sling Sunday, for precautionary reasons I'm told. He expects to play. And he'll be needed.

Any other health issues for Oklahoma State besides Cobbins?

Other than the normal wear and tear from a long season, no. The Cowboys are in pretty good shape.

What will be the biggest factors in the OSU-Oregon matchup?

I think it's all about OSU in this first game. I really think the team was a bit tired in KC and needed a little time off. They need to be refreshed and ready to go. I think they're the better team going against the Ducks, so if the Cowboys can avoid any early foul trouble to key players, get Nash active and going, they should be in good shape.

I’m shocked that a team that finished no. 2 in the PAC 12 got a 12 seed. Your thoughts? It's like OSU is playing an 8 or 9 seed team first game. Doesn't reward the season like it should. Ridiculous.

I don't know a whole lot about Oregon yet, other than they finished toward the top of the Pac-12 in the regular season and then won the league tournament. But the national analysts seem to agree, feeling the committee missed on the Ducks by several lines on the bracket. Makes for a tough early test. Still, it's about winning this time of the year. So win.

Let’s say OSU gets past Oregon. What do you know much about St. Louis and how Oklahoma State matches up with them?

St. Louis is a very dangerous team. Very balanced. Won the A-10. Have won 15 of their last 16, or something like that, including a run to the league tournament title. And the Billikens are a good story, pressing on after the death of former coach Rick Majerus. Very good team.

Now that the bracket is out, how far do you think OSU will go in the tournament?

It's a tough draw, so it won't be easy. Still, the Cowboys have a lot of what you want for the Tournament. Good, even great guards. They've been very good late in close games. Make free throws when it matters. They've played good competition and are 1-1 against two No. 1 seeds. If they play well, they can beat anyone. But doing that consistently, with little room for error against the likes of Oregon, St. Louis, Louisville, Duke, etc ... that's a lot to ask. I'm saying Sweet 16.

How does Marcus Smart matchup against Oregon PG Dominic Artis? Artis was injured, but with him in the lineup, I believe they went 21-4.

Artis is a good one, and obviously a key to what the Ducks do, although that's typical at the point. I like a Smart matchup with anyone at the college level. If anything, the matchup may be the deciding factor, if he's able to limit the Ducks PG impact.

Any thoughts on why Travis Ford sits Jurick in many second halves? Against K-state I thought we could have used his rebounding when OSU was tired.

Jurick has real trouble matching up with the more athletic forwards and centers. So in those scenarios, he sits. Ford, too, seems to like the smaller lineup more, because of the tough matchup Nash can be — sort of how he used Obi Muonelo a few years ago. Jurick sat against K-State because the Cowboys were in rally mode and needed offense; offense he doesn't provide.

I also thought the team from the 2nd half of Baylor game on looked like they had hit the wall — both mentally and physically. In fact, I would include Travis Ford. Could losing to KSU actually have been in OSU’s best interest for a complete recovery?

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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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