Oklahoma State basketball: OSU-Oregon point guard matchup features quickness vs. strength
PLAYING IT SMART — Marcus Smart's point guard matchup with the Oregon duo of Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd dominated the intrigue at Wednesday's media session. And the Oklahoma State freshman offered a bold breakdown.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Marcus Smart's been described as a stat-stuffer.
He scores and rebounds. He hands out assists and harasses for steals.
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He defends and leads.
Turns out he's now offering up a new skill: analyst.
Smart's point guard matchup with the Oregon duo of Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd dominated the intrigue at Wednesday's media session at HP Pavilion. And the Oklahoma State freshman offered a bold breakdown.
“They're very quick,” Smart said Artis and Loyd, who essentially share the Ducks' point guard post. “That's to their advantage. They're small, agile, very versatile. That's one thing that gives them an edge.
“But I also see that they're not as strong as I am. I'll try to overpower them and use my strength to my advantage.”
To the point, so to speak.
NCAA Tournament focus frequently zeros in on guard play; sometimes too much.
The Ducks, say those in the know, go as their point guards go. And no player nationally may impact his own team as much as Smart, who has guided the Cowboys back into March Madness following a losing season a year ago.
So, who's got the edge?
The talking points are clear.
Quickness vs. strength.
Inside vs. outside; with Smart seeing post-up opportunities and the Ducks intent on stressing him on the perimeter.
One vs. two (or more); as Oregon won't hesitate to offer help, likely in the form of 6-5 two guard Damyean Dotson.
Confident chatter exudes from both sides.
“Defensively for them, it's going to be hard to match up against me because of my size,” Smart said. “My teammates recognize and I recognize it. And it's just a matter of how I'm going to exploit that.”
The Ducks recognize it, too.
“Obviously, he's an unbelievable talent,” said Oregon forward E.J. Singler. “He has great size as a point guard. And I think that's where he's a matchup problem, just on how big he is and how strong he is.”
The size differential is significant. Smart goes 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, while Artis is 6-1, 185, and Loyd is 5-8, 165.
Still, Singler said, there can be advantages to being small.
“I think Johnny and DA will match up with him good,” Singler said. “I think they can pressure him out on the floor and make him do things he hasn't done all season.”
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