The Cowboys don’t have a weeknight game this week, with their next clash coming Saturday against West Virginia inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.The result: six days between games, since last Saturday’s loss at Kansas.
The question: good, or bad?
On one hand, it would seem beneficial. OSU’s rotation has become thin since the injury that shelved Michael Cobbins. Three players are averaging 32- minutes or more in conference play, including Kamari Murphy, who has replaced Cobbins in the post with little relief help. Murphy was averaging 20.2 minutes before Cobbins went down.
The other two, Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, averaging 34.2 and 33.0 minutes respectively, not only play a lot, they play stressful minutes, with the ball frequently in their hands on the offensive end, and both being critical on the defensive end.
So you’d think the relaxed calendar comes at a good time, especially with a quick turnaround coming up, as the Cowboys head to Norman for the first Bedlam showdown next Monday. It gives coaches an opportunity to get out and recruit, too, which Travis Ford took advantage of in going to see five-star guard JaQuan Lyle.
On the other hand, or Ford’s hand, there’s a downside, too. The gap in games messes with the routines that coaches and players count on and cling to.
“It does give those guys some rest, but this time of year, they just need to be ready to go,” Ford said.
Ford gave his team Sunday and Monday off, before returning for a hard practice Tuesday.
Then, in an attempt to maintain some normalcy, the Cowboys are going ahead with their game day routine. That means a shootaround at 2, before returning to the gym at 7 for another strenuous practice.
“Try and keep the flow,” Ford said.
Thursday brings the usual scouting report focus for West Virginia.
“If I had my choice,” Ford said, ”we’d be playing this week. I don’t like bye weeks.”
Normalcy will be hard to come by for the Cowboys the rest of the way. OSU has played its last Wednesday game of the season. From this point on, the Pokes will play Saturday-Monday the next two weeks; then Saturday-Tuesday; followed by three straight Saturday-Monday swings, before the regular season finale at Iowa State on Saturday, March 8.
All the Big Monday games come with the profile of being good and having a national star like Smart to feature, which ESPN will do across its brands the rest of the way. And the Tuesday game, at Texas, is part of ESPN’s Super Tuesday programming.
“We’ve just got to adjust,” Ford said.