Jenni Carlson: Oklahoma State to the Sweet 16, OU out after San Diego State

Oklahoman Modified: March 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013
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I love Miami, too. I have them in my Final Four, as well, and I have them playing for the national championship. Losing to Louisville, but still. It'd be a huge deal if the Canes make the national title game.

I don't know if I'd say Larkin is the best guard in the game because there are a lot of really good ones out there. I've watched him play a couple times, but probably not enough to say if he's the best in college basketball. I know I've seen him more and that has an impact in what I'm about to say, but Marcus Smart has a hand in so many different areas of every game for OSU. Even when he's not scoring, he's still impacting the game with defense or passing or whatever. To me, that's been pretty darn impressive to see, especially out of a freshman.

What are your predictions in % that Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, and Le’Bryan Nash stay at OSU next year?

Seems unlikely that all of them will still be there. My feeling is that Brown and Nash need to stay. I don't think either of them is ready to play in the NBA. Smart in the NBA? It's more of a sure thing. I think his decision is going to come down to what he wants to do. He seems like a kid who might decide to stay in college another year and try to make a run at championships. But at the same time, if he's a lottery pick, I couldn't blame him for jumping to the NBA.

I thought the OU women got a favorable seed/location. Your thoughts?

The OU women are a No. 6 seed in the OKC regional. I'd say that the location is definitely favorable. Now, the Sooners have to go to Columbus, Ohio, and play what are essentially neutral site games, first against Central Michigan, then against the winner of UCLA-Stetson.

Because of OU's lacking depth, winning two games in three days will be no easy task. But if they can survive the first two rounds, they'll definitely feel at home in the regional. And they wouldn't have to face a potential matchup with Baylor until the regional finals.

 

ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA:

Thunder-Nuggets: Big game tonight. Your thoughts on the matchup?

Huge game. Should be a fun one to watch, for sure. For whatever reason, OKC seems a lot better against the Nuggets when they're in OKC. Then when the games are played in Denver, the teams play on more equal footing. Not sure what to chalk that up to, but that's been the trend of late.

This is a potential playoff matchup, so it would behoove the Thunder to continue its home domination. Let the Nuggets know that getting a win in OKC will be nearly impossible. That could be a big psychological advantage in the playoffs.

After watching the Celtics last night, it made me think what a small lineup of Russ, KD, Jeff Green, Collison, and Ibaka would do against the Heat. I still love his game.

Uncle Jeff had himself a game last night. No doubt about that. But if Green isn't traded, there's no way the Thunder does all the things that it's done the past few years. The trade brought in defensive toughness in Kendrick Perkins, allowed for the development of Serge Ibaka and even opened the door for James Harden. ...

I like Jeff Green as much as the next person, but that trade set in motion so many things that have made the Thunder who it is today. If you like what you see now, you have to be OK with Jeff Green being somewhere else.

What do you see the Thunder doing with the Toronto pick?

A lot of people would like to see the Thunder take Marcus Smart with that pick, and while I think he fits the Thunder mold, I'm not sure where he would fit on the team. Starting point guard is already sewed up, and Reggie Jackson is putting a strangle hold on the backup job more and more every day.

So, would the Thunder use the Toronto pick to get its third-string point guard? That seems unlikely. So, that opens the door to a lot of options. The Thunder always seems to make great decisions on draft day, so while it's impossible to know who the team will pick — or even what players will make themselves available — I feel certain that they'll make a good decision with that pick. Heck, they could even use it in a trade scenario. Nothing is off the table with Sam Presti and Co.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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