It’s Opening Day, college basketball style.
And for OSU, it’s a day that kicks off what should be a fun ride to potentially grand destinations.
The Cowboys tip off their season at 7 p.m. inside Gallagher-Iba Arena against MississippiValleyState. It’s not a great opponent, yet something to whet the appetite for what lies ahead.
In 11 short days, No. 13-ranked Memphis will arrive at GIA for the Cowboys’ first major test of the season. So there’s some urgency to get things sorted and settled and cleaned up before then.
And it all begins tonight.
Here are three things to watch:
1. The rotation. The starters are set: Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Le’Bryan Nash, Michael Cobbins and Brian Williams. But who’s next? Phil Forte and Kamari Murphy figure to play major minutes this season and have much to offer, much that is needed, specifically perimeter shooting from Forte and another rebounder from Murphy. Beyond those seven, look for freshman Stevie Clark to continue to confirm his status as an impact player, whether that’s as a scoring boost off the bench, or as point guard relief for Smart. Leyton Hammonds, another freshman, is bidding for minutes, as is classmate and fellow Texan Jeffrey Carroll. Can Marek Soucek make a play for time? Or Gary Gaskins? These are things that must be sorted out between now and Nov. 19.
2. Perimeter approach. The Cowboys are making an emphasis on improved 3-point shooting. And they should be at least adequate, with Forte and Brown and Smart and Clark all capable of going off from the arc. In two exhibitions, that improved shooting hasn’t shown up. Coach Travis Ford insists it’s not a concern – yet.
3. The men in stripes. Officials are under orders to call a very tight game, with hand-checking of dribblers no longer allowed and charging calls under the basket supposedly a thing of the past. The players are adjusting. The referees are adjusting. And for a while, it could be hard to watch.