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John Helsley: Oklahoma State could struggle with size in NCAA tournament

by John Helsley Published: March 4, 2014
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Oklahoma State writer John Helsley chatted with readers Tuesday. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

NewsOK 10:23 a.m. Hey everyone. John will be logging in at 11 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
John Helsley 11:01 a.m. Greetings from the real office, the tower at Britton and Broadway, where we've been meeting and chatting. Now it's time for some real chatter. Cowboy basketball on the rise. Spring football on tap. Baseball still going strong. Here we go...
NCAA committee 11:02 a.m. What does oklahoma state have to do to get a 7 seed in the NCAA tournament to avoid the 1 if they make it to the second round
John Helsley 11:04 a.m. Simply put, keep winning. Beat Iowa State Saturday, and/or win two at the Big 12 Tournament and there's a solid chance the Cowboys could climb. Once the Cowboys are in the tournament, which appears to be now, the committee could consider the three games lost without Marcus Smart, which could result in a one-line move in the bracket.
CowboysRule- Chris 11:04 a.m. OSU in the NCAA tourney now!!! Yes!! excited fan. Question- what seed in the NCAA tourney do you think is most likely if you have to predict the future? Please NO 8-9 seed and I'll be happy. Thanks :)
John Helsley 11:05 a.m. The 8-9 is the obvious seed to hope against, since a win puts you opposite one of the four No. 1 seeds. Of course, the optimistic view would be to beat No. 1 and assume their seed line. Obviously, that's not ideal.
Shawn 11:05 a.m. Other than the obvious Justin Gilbert, who should I be on the lookout for at OSU's pro day?
John Helsley 11:08 a.m. Gilbert has probably done all he needs to do to cement his status as one of the top CBs in the draft, so it's uncertain how much he'll even do at the pro day. I think Josh Stewart has some work to do, if he can post a faster time in the 40.
Calvin Barnett didn't get a combine invite for some reason, so this is his time to make an impression. Shaun Lewis is a guy who could get himself on the free agent radar. Tracy Moore, too.
-Mac 11:08 a.m. Looks like the basketball team will make the NCAA tournament, what seed do you expect them to get?
Tom 11:08 a.m. Who will replace G. Mizell?
John Helsley 11:10 a.m. Sorry, didn't mean to post these questions together.
I'll answer the second one first:
I don't know, but I can only hope it happens fast! Gina will be missed. She was outstanding in her time here, really threw herself into the beat the reported it in a first-class way. And she was a great beat partner.
There are big shoes to fill.
Kyle 11:10 a.m. Hi John. This past Cowboy weekend was awesome with a sweep of the Kansas teams. Though the Florida time zone stinks, my Pokes certainly made the late night viewing a lot more enjoyable. Correct me if I'm wrong, but who in their right minds wants to play us in the NCAA tourney? We are on a good roll now and everyone's adapted to their new roles. I see us as a sweet 16 team for sure, and wouldn't be suprised to see us go even further. Your thoughts?
John Helsley 11:13 a.m. This is the question I meant to pair with the other one, regarding OSU's seed, which I've addressed in early responses.
But the point is dead on. The way the Cowboys are playing right now, the'll be the lesser seed in matchups where the higher seed will be really unhappy with their draw.
Not all that different from a year ago when OSU drew an undervalued Oregon team in its opener.
The Cowboys still have some issues when it comes to size, and a team that is talented and physical on the front line would be a matchup problem -- but there are few of those.
The Cowboys are sharing the ball better, moving the ball better and playing much better together. That's been critical to the turnaround.
KU fans 11:13 a.m. Marcus Smart should have won an oscar for most flops in a season
John Helsley 11:13 a.m. Had to be one of the biggest snubs of the Oscar season. He wasn't even nominated! The outrage!
rick 11:14 a.m. So who is lying Smart or Self?
John Helsley 11:16 a.m. Neither. My guess is it's a matter of semantics. On Saturday, Self says he wants to delay celebrating until they win the title outright, preferably in Stillwater. Player takes that to mean cutting down the nets figuratively, not literally. Again, it's only a guess.
Richard Sherman 11:16 a.m. LeBron had a monster game last nite and made a big MVP statement with his performance. I feel he is establishing himself in this stretch run as the best in the NBA. His teammates look comfortable with him in that role as well. Years ago Kobe reached that pinnacle after he no longer had to compete with Shaq as his teammate. What are your thoughts? Has KD's MVP chances disappeared with sharing the spotlight with Russell?
John Helsley 11:17 a.m. LeBron or Le'Bryan? Did I get transported to the Thunder chat?
OK, I'll give you my take. LeBron remains the best player in the NBA. That and the MVP are two different things. KD -- to this point -- has been the MVP, carrying his team when it was without a significant piece.
Patrick 11:17 a.m. Not saying they can't win at ISU, but it's a tough place to play. But, do you think OSU is really a lock for the NCAA at 8-10 in conference, or do you think they would still need to win at least one more in KC?
John Helsley 11:19 a.m. I go along with the thought that the Cowboys are in good shape with the NCAA Tournament. Most of the bracketelogists I talked to last week said they needed to go 2-1 over the stretch of KU, KSU and ISU. And they've already done that with a game to go. The Big 12 is a beast this year, and the committee will recognize that.
Brian Wick 11:19 a.m. it looked like the girth disparity between Thomas Gibson and Kamari Murphy was huge, how did it look on the floor?
John Helsley 11:20 a.m. Even moreso! Gipson is a man inside, a real physical presence. Both Murphy and Nash did their best to bang with him. I'm sure they're both looking forward to a couple days off.
Guest 11:20 a.m. John, when are we going to get another gina mizzell? Sorry, you're just not as good looking...lol
John Helsley 11:20 a.m. Point made and accepted.
Snackmaster, Houston, TX 11:21 a.m. More likely to happen, you covering OSU in the Sweet 16 or the Cubs hovering near the .500 mark in June?
John Helsley 11:22 a.m. The Snackmaster! Hope all is well in your world. And, hey, we can live chat in other ways, by the way...

Wow, tough call. The Cowboys are certainly capable of reaching the Sweet 16, especially if they can avoid that 8-9 matchup. And the Cubs, well, they're the Cubs, still.
As always, there's still room on the Cardinal bandwagon.
Billy 11:22 a.m. Does the fact that Nash was not honored on Senior Night mean he might be coming back for his Senior season?
John Helsley 11:24 a.m. Excellent question. I believe the Cowboys coaches are continuing to urge Nash to stay. And in my opinion, it would be a good move. Not sure his draft grade will be worth the jump. And he could learn something from Markel and see how fun a final go round can be.
Stay tuned...
rick 11:24 a.m. Do you have any problem with the blackflips at phog or the flexing on Saturday night?
John Helsley 11:26 a.m. Smart's backflipping goes back to his high school days. It's not just a KU thing. It's not what I would do, but then I can't do a backflip. I believe it was just a show of emotion. Same for the flexing.
It's not being reported, but Frank Mason spent the postgame this season in Lawrence badmouthing the OSU bench. But then, the camera wouldn't be on him, would it?
Curious 11:26 a.m. If you could describe this year for the OSU basketball team in 1 word, what would it be?
John Helsley 11:27 a.m. Unpredictable.
D Bo 11:27 a.m. In light of issues with player/fans interacting, will the Big 12 adopt fines for fans rushing the court like the SEC has?
John Helsley 11:28 a.m. I've been told that the Big 12 is discussing just such a thing. It's going to be hard to control, but I did hear one interesting concept. Anyone who rushes the floor is expelled.
Have to admit, sounds like that would be effective.
dr. el prez 11:28 a.m. John, thought O State played a solid, heady game last night. A nice blend of getting Smart, Nash, Brown and Forte all involved. I agree...the committee will treat the Smart suspension games as injury games more or less. When Smart plays within himself--O State is a dangerous basketball team. Good seeing these guys get it together because I think with a good draw, some bounces and a wink from the basketball gods---they could be a sleeper team. Don't really have a question. Just talking hoops.
John Helsley 11:29 a.m. El Prez, you're always welcome to share your insights here at the Power Lunch.
Good insights they are.
Validated.
Conflicted 11:29 a.m. Tougher place to play as a visitor for both football and basketball? Stillwater or Norman?
John Helsley 11:31 a.m. Stillwater. And it's easy.
Basketball is a no contest. And we frequently do player polls at Big 12 football media days, asking the question about which stadium in the league is the toughest to play in. BPS always tops the list.
Mikey D 11:31 a.m. With his senior year coming to an end, and the continuous improvement of his game, where to see Markel Brown landing in the NBA? What about LeBryan?
John Helsley 11:33 a.m. Recently chatted to some scouts about both guys and the word used to describe both: "Tweener." Markel needs to be a point guard in the NBA. Now, his increased use at the point this season, particularly in Smart's absence should help him, but I still think he'll need some work in the D League. He's on the fringe of the first round.
Nash's situation is more difficult. He's most effective in the post in college, but can't exist in there in the NBA. And he doesn't have the consistent shot to move outside.
David 11:33 a.m. What's your position in Travis ford a lot of fans were screaming for his head during the stretch of losses. Who was to blame, and can he handle leading a star studded cast?
John Helsley 11:37 a.m. I'm on record as not being a "Fire the Coach!" guy, for the most part. There are times when it's obvious, but it shouldn't just be the knee-jerk reaction in tough times. Sometimes there are reasons for tough times. The Cobbins injury was huge for this team. With him, they're sitting on 13 or 14 wins and competing for the title.
As for the second part of your question, it's harder and harder to deal with star players these days. Fans always want the college coach to instill discipline when it's been absent the first 18 years of a kid's life. Rarely get it at home, in terms of sports. Rarelydemanded in high school or from the AAU coach. And suddenly the college coach can get it?
Good luck.
OSUfan 11:37 a.m. What was the deal with Smart talking to the KU bench a lot during the game? Was that just Frank Mason related, or were there things going on with the coaches and other players too?
John Helsley 11:39 a.m. I don't know. The teams have been chippy since last season. And Smart played a role in that, for sure.
Also, you see this stuff -- they see this stuff -- all the time in the NBA and they think that's the way to act.
Oh, but let's not offend anyone and suggest they should act right.
Brian Wick 11:39 a.m. Do you see Ford going to using Smart more in mid post to let him initiate the offense? It worked well last night w/a Forte 3 and Williams dunk
John Helsley 11:40 a.m. I do. Even at 6-4, he's hard to handle down there. And his exceptional court vision allows him to redirect the game in a way teams aren't used to seeing. TCU coach Trent Johnson talked about it after the game down there. And it worked well last night.
rick 11:40 a.m. how can I be excited for a team that was predicted to win the big 12 but is a tough battle for 7th place.
John Helsley 11:43 a.m. Your excitement level is based on predictions?
The Cowboys were playing well and looked like one of the best teams in the country, then Cobbins was lost. And it was a huge loss, more than we ever perceived. And there have been other issues. And then Stevie Clark flamed out.
If it was me, I'd be excited about the way they've played their guts out, regrouped and recovered, seemingly, here late.
When the going gets tough... what was it Vance Bedford once said?
Cowgirl4ever 11:44 a.m. Rick is not required to be excited about this team. There are plenty of us who are excited.
Stinky 11:44 a.m. Was Ford ever in the Hot Seat, if so, has it cooled off now?
John Helsley 11:45 a.m. Well, there was certainly a time when there was a lot of chatter about his seat. But the only one who can answer that is Mike Holder. And he doesn't talk about such things.
Brian Wick 11:45 a.m. Do you see Nash being featured on the block more against ISU after so much success the 1st time around?
John Helsley 11:46 a.m. Absolutely. And Nash has gotten better, too, at reacting to double teams down there and kicking the ball out. Iowa State is not a bad physical matchup, like a lot of teams, for the Cowboys. With the Cyclones, it's usually about how they're shooting from the arc. And they're usually better at home.
Mike 11:46 a.m. How big of a concern is it for the Cowboys with respect to the number of minutes being played by the 5 starters? I still can't figure out what Ford is doing with respect to rotating players into games and getting guys rest. Just when you think Hammonds will get more minutes, he gets very few against KU and KSU. And Sager before Williams off the bench? We are going to need these guys to contribute off the bench if we expect to make a run in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.
John Helsley 11:52 a.m. Thanks for the questions, everyone. Enjoy your week!
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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