Oklahoma State fell to Iowa State at Hilton tonight 87 – 76 in a game that everybody (including Vegas[1. Iowa State was a three-pointe favorite.]) saw coming from a mile away. Iowa State just doesn’t lose back-to-back games in Hilton. The loss knocks the Pokes out of the Big 12 title race and probably kicks the Cyclones into the NCAA tournament. I refuse to freak out over a loss like this but I do, as always, have 10 thoughts…
Oh, and this is why I refuse to freak out over that loss..
RT @CycloneMBB: ISU has defeated 4 of its last 5 ranked opponents at home. ISU now 32-3 in Hilton Coliseum in last two seasons
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) March 7, 2013
1. Marcus Smart had a good line tonight — 24 points, eight boards, three assists, five steals — but there was something…amiss. He took 22 shots to get his 24 points which is wildly inefficient and he seemed almost lazy in his shot selection — settling for threes when it clearly wan’t working, not dishing when he was covered. It was odd.
And the flopping, my gosh, I know it’s beneficial to us as a team sometimes but I hate watching that garbage[2. Even though he’s unbelievably good at flopping. I mean let’s be honest, a three-year-old could fool a Big 12 official so it doesn’t take much but this is next-level “Vlade Divac is smiling somewhere in Europe” stuff. Just another thing he’s great at, I guess.].
Marcus Smart. The flopping. Just stop.
— WRNL (@WideRtNattyLt) March 7, 2013
2. I’m sorry but the Phil Forte thing is totally an issue. He’s 9-59 from three on the road now. NINE FOR FIFTY-NINE! A drunk, blindfolded Jason Kapono could go 9-59 with three guys on him. I like Forte, really and truly I think he’s going to be an excellent player — better than Keiton, for sure — but this green light whenever he wants thing is a problem right now.
Watch him next time he shoots one, he’s leaning all over the place like Tiger after a ripped 5-wood from the rough. It just doesn’t seem to be there right now. The good news though? He’s 43% at home and 50% at neutral sites and that’s all we have from here on out.
3. I told you guys yesterday that elite offensive teams are an issue for OSU. Tomorrow we’ll look at 14 teams OSU doesn’t want to see in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
4. Our big guys are quietly playing really well on offense. Murph and Cobb were a combined 5-7 tonight for 10 points and eight boards in just over 40 minutes of work. The guards rarely looked their way because they were busy playing around the world from the three-point line but when they did, the big men delivered.
5. That first half was just a total disaster. It felt like we took about eight or nine of our 31 shots from inside the paint, and that might be generous. And back to Smart — was he trying to remove the doubts about his stroke in 20 minutes of basketball?
It reminded me of Franny saying Myck Kabongo was trying to go pro on every possession last Saturday in Stillwater. It seemed like Smart was trying to squelch doubt about his J on every possession. Weird.
6. This was such a huge issue tonight and it’s actually a problem when Jurick doesn’t play, or can’t play because he’s not athletic enough to match Iowa State’s big guys.
@pistolsguy our switching man d is terrible. How many layups did we give up?
— Casey Williams (@POKEinSTL) March 7, 2013
There’s nobody to protect the rim and apparently nobody was interested in switching and taking charges tonight, especially, but not solely, Le’Bryan. One of the announcers called it “getting whipped at the rim.” I feel like that’s a pretty good assessment. I also feel like all of Iowa State’s points were on threes and layups but maybe I’m just being emotional.
7. The Iowa State crowd is awesome and totally underrated. I know it’s kind of dumb but I appreciated them taunting Nash the entire game — that’s good stuff from a crowd that knows it had to have this one to get in the Dance.
8. Speaking of Nash — I’ve written before that he’s not really the athlete we all make him out to be and that was pretty apparent tonight on a couple of defensive possessions. It’s almost like he still thinks it’s high school and he can cheat a little bit and then just overpower people because he’s such a monster. He got housed multiple times on defense and went down without so much as a whimper.
I love it when he’s going good on offense — and I’ll be the first to tell you he’s been terrific lately — but defensively he’s a big-time liability on the perimeter.
9. It tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Big 12 refs that they confused the shot clock stopping with the game clock stopping and took a five-minute recession to figure it out, doesn’t it?
10. Two more very random things. First, I daydreamed for like 10 minutes in the first half about what Ford would do if Jurick shot a three given Ford’s aptitude for having some pretty amazing freak out moments. The two things I kept coming back to were either he would rip the warmups off a walk-on and sling them at Jurick after he pulled him or he would just stare blankly at the court with a maniacal look that made you wonder if he was a murderer in a former life.
Oh and the second thing was that one of the announcers told me I needed a sabre saw to cut the tension in Hilton. Wut?
11. (bonus) Iowa State had 21 assists. OSU had 11. Yup.
Kansas State on Saturday.
It pains me that beating them means KU gets the title outright but this is not something I want to see again…