By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma State beat Texas 72-59 on Saturday, extending its conference-best win streak to five game. Here’s some rapid reaction:
It was over when…
…The Cowboys committed to playing hard-nosed defense from the tip. Because if you crowd and disrupt Texas (which OSU did), the Longhorns have no chance of staying in the game. They can’t shoot and they can’t score. That’s why they lost Saturday and that’s why they now sit at 2-8 in conference play. Against OSU, UT shot 39 percent from the field, 6 percent from three and 57 percent from the line. Brutal.
Star of the game – Marcus Smart
The game was boring, but Smart was brilliant. From end-to-end, unquestionably, he was the best player on the floor, putting together another ridiculous stat-line that accurately portrays his constant impact: 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks. Freshman or senior, those type of numbers are so rare in the college game.
Stats of note
-Oklahoma State now has more Big 12 road wins in the past week (2) than he had the previous two seasons combined.
-In his first four season at OSU, Travis Ford never won in Lawrence or Austin. In the past eight days he’s won in both places.
-Markel Brown has put up double-digits in 20 of 22 games this season. That’s consistency.
-Le’Bryan Nash ended with 14 points and nine rebounds. He’s still never recorded a double-double in his college career.
-Phil Forte is 3/19 from deep in the past three games. He’s a key piece moving forward that must get back on track.
What it means?
Barring a complete collapse (basically losing the rest of its games), OSU has essentially clinched an NCAA tourney spot. Now it can focus on boosting the resume for seeding purposes. And when you look across college basketball (in a down year across the board), the Cowboys have a realistic shot to rapidly rise up the national rankings. If they continue to improve (and rack up wins), a 3- or 4-seed is not out of the question. Amazing considering they were a bubble team two weeks ago.
Big 12 standings watch
Through the weekend
OSU goes to Tech on Wednesday (very winnable) before a home game against OU next Saturday (where the Cowboys will be favored). If the Cowboys can win both, they’d head into a home game against Kansas on a seven-game win streak. Think that one would be slightly large?