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John Helsley: Big 12 officiating this year has left a lot to be desired

The Oklahoman's OSU beat writer John Helsley took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11:30 a.m. on Here's a look at today's Q&A.
by John Helsley Modified: February 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm •  Published: February 26, 2013

The Oklahoman's OSU beat writer John Helsley took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11:30 a.m. on Here's a look at today's Q&A.

Nick 11:03 a.m. Big 12 Refs? What can be done? That was a a joke on national TV last night. Nash's charge allowed Kansas to win the other night. I guess Kansas will win 34 years in a row.
NewsOK 11:04 a.m. Nick, fitting first topic, as that game and the calls -- or no calls -- are the talk of the sports world today. I wrote a blog on it you can check out here: The chatter may help, but you're right, officiating this year has left a lot to be desired.
Phil 11:04 a.m. Given the probability that Smart, and possibly Nash are gone after this season, which incoming freshmen are best suited to make an immediate impact?
NewsOK 11:06 a.m. There's help coming, for sure. Right here in Oklahoma, there's Stevie Clark, a big-time scorer from Douglass High. He's a 4-star prospect, as is Detrick Mostella from Indiana, another big-time scorer. They also are counting on getting help from 6-10 center Gary Gaskins, a junior college player.
Your Name 11:06 a.m. Odds Marcus Smart comes back for another season?
NewsOK 11:07 a.m. I'm higher than most, because Smart has a few "other" factors at play. 20 percent
tom 11:07 a.m. Have you seen improvement in Ford as an X's and 0's coach this season? Or is this year's success all Marcus Smart?
NewsOK 11:09 a.m. I think OSU's improvement is a combination of things, including Ford and Smart and the two of them together. For the first time since Byron Eaton was running the show, Ford has a point guard he trusts and one that can do -- and is willing to do -- what the coach wants done. Keep in mind, Ford's teams have frequently improved as the seasons have gone on. This one is too.
brewzer 11:09 a.m. Is J P's college career over?
NewsOK 11:10 a.m. His OSU career? Hard to say for sure, but it sure looks like there's no room for him on next year's roster. The Cowboys have signed five recruits already. The NCAA barely approved his waiver the last time, and there's some sentiment they'd never sign off on one again. JP's best bet may be to go overseas, if he wants to continue playing.
sj62499 11:10 a.m. What can the Big 12 do to fix the officiating problem and will they? Self's win last night deserves *N
Jay 11:10 a.m. The twitter world blew up with the atrocity that was the officiating at last night's KU ISU game )I didn't see the game). Is anything really likely to happen other than maybe something like what the Big 12 unofficially told Gundy after the Texas football game last year?
NewsOK 11:12 a.m. See the above question/answer and blog. The late-game officiating in that game did indeed blow up Twitter and the blowback continues today, with stories on various websites and reports that the Big 12 is already looking into the officials' work. Attention helps; helps keep people accountable. But there's little that can be done after the fact.
Arlington 11:13 a.m. The men's team is a great feel-good story for OSU. But what about the roller coaster ride of the women's team? Great performances along with ugly losses. Why so inconsistent?
NewsOK 11:14 a.m. Good question. Lose at TCU. Roll in Bedlam. This team has been up and down. Likely has something to do with the inconsistent performance of true freshman Brittney Martin, who is going to be special, yet is, after all, a freshman. Toni Young foul troubles is another factor. When on, this team is pretty good.
Mike 11:15 a.m. John, do you think WVU request for scheduling "considerations" is one of the ways they are pushing for additional teams to be added to the conference? They were obviously well aware of the travel b4 joining the conference.
NewsOK 11:17 a.m. I think plans were already in place to address scheduling, it was just impossible to do in year one. In fairness to the players, and we're talking all sports, others than football and basketball where the out-of-class time is actually much worse, there needs to be some effort to help. They're still students.
tom 11:17 a.m. In your opinion, what type of team is the worst possible match-up in a tournament?
NewsOK 11:19 a.m. Tom, a team with athletic big men who can score is the team I would fear. Traditional post men aren't such a concern. Jurick holds his own on the defensive end with those types, even the good ones, with help from Cobbins. But athletic big men, like Baylor's Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson, those kind of guys give the Cowboys trouble. Not worried at all about guard play. That's an edge to OSU.
NewsOK 11:20 a.m. The question queue is clear! C'mon, bring me your thoughts, your concerns, your queries. Spring football starts in 13 days...
Levi 11:20 a.m. Who do you see as the starting QB next season? Does anyone transfer?
NewsOK 11:22 a.m. That is, after all, the $64 million question, right? The spring will have a lot to do with that. There was a time when I thought it would be Lunt, but that was before Monken left. I still think he's the QB of the future in this offense. I sense that Gundy really likes the Chelf-squad relationship. That will be a great battle and storyline of the spring, one of the more interesting springs around OSU in a while.
Travis 11:22 a.m. Odds on Lunt redshirting?
NewsOK 11:24 a.m. If Lunt is receptive to a redshirt, that may a solid scenario, but only if -- IF -- they don't think there's much difference in the QBs. If he's the best option, he needs to be the guy, because the Cowboys should be very good. Having been the starter, however, I'm not sure how he would stomach the thought of watching next fall.
Randy 11:24 a.m. Have any of the young DEs shown exceptional promise in the offseason workouts
NewsOK 11:26 a.m. The buzz about the DEs has been good. Irokansi, Trace Clark, Jimmy Bean, coaches have always talked highly of those guys and their futures. Sam Wren, the juco transfer, will be a factor. It should be a position of strength.
Billy 11:26 a.m. How good would the men's basketball team be if they had Darrell Williams?
NewsOK 11:27 a.m. They'd be a legit Final Four team. His skills, and style, would fit in well with this group. And he'd give them some needed bulk. Sad, sad deal for all parties involved.
sj62499 11:27 a.m. What will OSU have to do to win at ISU and do you think they can?
NewsOK 11:29 a.m. They'll have to cover shooters, which isn't at all as easy as it sounds. And rebound. The Cyclones do a great job with ball movement, getting their many shooters open looks on the perimeter. But they also rebound well, partly because of all the long rebounds. The Cowboys can win there. Brian Williams returning to form helps. It will be a tough task, but doable.
Bay 11:29 a.m. A lot of talk of Nash and Smart leaving OSU? Any chance Brown joins them? His stock cant be much higher than it is today.
NewsOK 11:30 a.m. I don't see Markel leaving. I don't see him in the first round, which is where you better be to leave early. I think he's enjoying his time at OSU and would recognize the things they could accomplish next year, when it's possible the Pokes are the Big 12 favorite.
Ted Holmes 11:30 a.m. What are your thoughts on the current baseball team this year? Differences in past years? Projection?
NewsOK 11:32 a.m. They've gotten off to a good start, which was important, with guys continually buying in to the new staff. This staff is very hands on. They are big on fundamentals. They motivate. Players seem to be embracing the culture change. It's only a matter of time before OSU is back in baseball, in my opinion. For this year, I see them fourth or fifth in the Big 12, a bubble NCAA team.
Phil 11:32 a.m. Pokes play Miss. State in Houston right out of the gate next year. What do we know about them and will we be favored to
NewsOK 11:34 a.m. They are good, have been an improving program under Dan Mullen, formerly of the Florida Gators staff. They are making strides. But they're still struggling against the top teams, with a bad record against the Top 25, something like 0-4 a year ago. They return a solid core from last year, but lose their top four receivers. Pokes will be favored. And should win.
NewsOK 11:35 a.m. OK, folks, that's going to have to do it this week. Appreciate all the participation and the great questions. I'm headed for Fort Worth tomorrow. Follow my analysis on Twitter @jjhelsley. And of course on and in the paper.
-- JH
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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