And for sure, against K-State and Oregon, Smart didn't seem to possess his usual explosiveness.
Smart's 33.5 minutes per game ranks fourth in the Big 12. And the other two members of OSU's Big 3 ranked in the league's top 10 in minutes played, with Markel Brown second at 34.1 and Le'Bryan Nash ninth at 31.8.
“Guys were playing hard, we just couldn't get anything going,” Ford said after the final loss. “We've got a lot of guys playing a lot of minutes … but every team does.
“We'll go back and study it all and work on it and hopefully improve on it.”
Eventually, the Cowboys may be able to reflect on the positives of the season. The disappointment of the loss should fade.
But there's a sense that they don't want to fully forget.
Said sophomore Michael Cobbins: “We've got to let this build up in us and unleash it next year.”