By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
It was over when…
…Conference realignment stuck an unprepared TCU hoops team into a gauntlet that’s likely to spit them out 0-18. Seriously, the Horned Frogs probably won’t win a Big 12 game (they already missed their best chance, losing to Texas Tech at home). But it’s not their fault. The school made a necessary move for its football program and the hoops team will just go down as another example of conference realignment collateral damage, years away from gathering enough talent to compete consistently.
Star of the game – Marcus Smart
In his past three games (Gonzaga, K-State, TCU), Marcus Smart is averaging 20.6 points on a ridiculous 21/31 shooting. The accuracy woes that plagued him in nonconference play are gone and the game continues to get easier for the freshman who plays like a seasoned veteran.
Rising – Le’Bryan Nash’s confidence
Not his best game (13 points, six rebounds and five turnovers), but a nice bounceback performance for the much-maligned sophomore. He came out with more energy and seemed determined to at least have an impact on the game, regardless of his final stats. And that’s a good sign moving forward.
Falling – OSU’s crispness
The Cowboys committed a season-high 24 turnovers. And it seemed like 44. The game was never in doubt (and that may have contributed to the sloppiness). But Travis Ford can’t be pleased with the constant carelessness and awful decision-making in the open court. That’ll fly against TCU, but not many other Big 12 foes.
Stat of the game
Smart had a season-high five steals on Wednesday. He now has 39 this year, easily leading the Big 12 and putting him on pace to shatter Mario Chalmers freshman Big 12 record of 89 in a season.
Markel Brown clanged a relatively easy dunk. No, seriously. By my unofficial count, it was the first missed slam of his career.
But when you’ve got a highlight film that includes this one, I think you deserve a free pass.
Bedlam in Norman on Saturday. And it’s a big one. OSU enters 11-3 overall, 1-1 in Big 12 play. OU arrives at 10-3, 1-0. Both are looking to boost tournament resumes.