Doug Gottlieb, a former Oklahoma State point guard, will be in studio when the ninth-ranked Cowboys play at No. 15 Kansas at 3 p.m. Saturday on CBS. Ian Eagle and Greg Anthony will call the game. Gottlieb, 38, is busy this winter hosting a 2-5 p.m. show on the CBS Sports Radio Network, co-hosting “Lead Off” at 11 p.m. weeknights on the CBS Sports Network, broadcasting 30 college basketball games and working weekly in the studio. Here are excerpts from a phone interview in which Gottlieb discussed OSU, Kansas and the Big 12:
Q: How do you rate OSU's play?
A: I thought they had a chance to win not just the league, but maybe the whole thing when they were healthy. Losing Michael Cobbins really hurts. He's a redshirt, so he's a little older. He wasn't playing great before he got hurt. ... But they are very slim up front. The (suspension) issues with Stevie (Clark) don't help just because the two games in which they lost, he didn't play. I do think there is a correlation there because as good as Marcus (Smart) is, he's terrific, he needs someone to take him off the basketball. ... It's one thing to not play well, it's a whole other thing to get in foul trouble when your backup isn't there. That happened when they went to Kansas State. They have some flaws obviously, but they have something that very few have: No. 1, cohesion from at least two years of playing together. Two, they have three different guys who can score at their position. And they are a really good execution team in the half-court. Defensively, they are slim up front, and this weekend is a perfect example. The size and talent of Kansas against the more perimeter-oriented Oklahoma State team. Which matchup wins? Can they withstand any interior foul trouble? That will be a big issue.
What's your impression of the Jayhawks?
The game I called (against San Diego State) was the worst offensive (showing) since Bill Self has been coach at Kansas, statistically in field-goal percentage (29.8). Since then, they have played much better. They are par for the course for a team of freshmen. Freshmen have to learn how to win. I thought that was a heck of a win at Iowa State. I thought they got really good point guard play from Naadir Tharpe, in the way in which he plays point guard. Their flaws are No. 1 their youth, No. 2 they still are not a great shooting team no matter how well they shot against Oklahoma. Three, they don't have a true point guard, so that is going to make guys have to create their own shots. They are very turnover prone. It's pretty obvious what the plan is for everybody. When one of their post players gets it, you double them and you make them pass and you try to get steals off it. When they drive, you try to muddy up the lane and make them make tough contested shots. It's a very simple game plan but sometimes talent wins out and they do have a lot of talent in (Joel) Imbiid and (Andrew) Wiggins.
How many Big 12 teams will make the NCAA Tournament?
I would be stunned if five don't get in. I think it is fairly likely a sixth will get in and it's possible a seventh will get in. And out of 10 teams, that's pretty good. Coming into the year, I didn't think the league would be that good. Texas is very interesting. They did win at North Carolina. They looked great the other night against West Virginia. They lost to Oklahoma to start Big 12 play, so they are kind of all over the map. Obviously, Kansas State is a surprise. I guess Oklahoma is a surprise. I shouldn't be surprised. Lon Kruger is just remarkable at how consistently his teams compete. And Baylor shouldn't be a surprise. Iowa State just sort of keeps remaking themselves yearly. If you're judging based upon depth of conference, depth of NCAA Tournament teams, it's the best league in the country. But if you're judging based on how many teams can legitimately win a national championship, I don't know if they have one.