10 thoughts on OSU and Gonzaga

Written by Kyle Porter
Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI


Yes, yes that was a fitting end to the most bizarre season of Oklahoma State basketball I’ve ever been witness to.

OSU and Gonzaga struggled to a 61-foul extravaganza on Friday afternoon early evening evening that left the Pokes on the wrong end of a 85-77 first round exit.

They did set a record, though.

It’s the first time OSU has lost four straight NCAA Tournament games.

It also marks the end of Travis Ford’s sixth year — a tenure that has seen him be paid north of $10 million to finish seventh (or worse) in the Big 12 five times and win one (one, uno, a single) NCAA Tournament game.

OSU never led — in fact in the last four years it has only led for two minutes and 51 seconds in NCAA Tournament games — and Markel Brown and Marcus Smart (and maybe Le’Bryan Nash) will leave OSU having never tasted success in the Dance.

Gonzaga got out to a smoking hot start by hitting its first seven shots and even though OSU tried to answer over and over, it just couldn’t get in front.

Marcus Smart had the most Marcus Smart game ever to go out on (the first time a player has ever had a 20-10-5-5 line in the NCAA Tournament) and Markel had 20 points but Nash got in foul trouble and Forte never got in rhythm (3/12 from the field).

Gonzaga crushed the Cowboys on the interior, too. OSU actually outrebounded them but the Zags’ 7’1″ big man, Przemek Karnowski, had 15 points on six of nine shooting. He was a beast.

And the fouls. Oh, the fouls. 61 of them, to be exact. The most in any non-OT Tournament game since 1975. Five guys fouled out, three for OSU, two for Gonzaga. This is how bad it was: Christien Sager almost fouled out.

So the 2013-14 season, the one that was supposed to be The One for Travis Ford, the one that held all of the fruits of so much labor, is finally and mercifully over.

I don’t know what the long-term ramifications are — I wrote after last year that Ford should be gone so I’ll likely do it again — but I know that I’m bummed that we’ll never see No. 22 in an OSU jersey again. He was everything you wanted a Cowboy basketball player to be — four years of climbing the ladder (somewhat literally, definitely metaphorically).

He was a great one.

He certainly deserved better than whatever this season was.

More thoughts…

• David Stockton should change his name to “David Stockton son of hall-of-famer John Stockton.” I mean, why hasn’t he?

• How great was the Stockton-Forte matchup?

• Haha.

• That start by Gonzaga, my gosh. They were on pace for 136 points five minutes through the first half. It felt like it would never end. They were so patient, too. Something we rarely are.

• Does Travis Ford have a self-imposed weight limit on his players? That’s the only explanation, right? Like, maybe he thought early on in his career that coaching regular teams was too difficult and wanted to raise the degree of difficulty. How does every team we play have like five players bigger than our biggest guy?

• Awesome.

• https://twitter.com/nolancox/status/447117992271151105

• Przemek Karnowski is my Polish Luke Schenscher.

• Could you bet on “number of times TNT will show hall-of-famer John Stockton in the crowd” before the game? Because I would have taken the over, no matter what it was.

• The announcers mentioning the fact that Christien Sager was in Cosmo as one of college basketball’s hottest players was my highlight of the first half..I haven’t decided whether or not that’s a joke yet.

• Why does Marcus always raise his hands when walking past people even if it’s not necessary (which is never)? Does he have Blake Griffin film on a loop in his dorm room?

• ….

• The announcers made jokes in the first half about us using a walrus from what appeared to be Sea World as a big man. That’s where we we’re at.

• Gonzaga is so smart and patient on offense. Not perfect, but they just don’t make mistakes. Compared to them we looked like an AAU team that was used to beating up all the other AAU teams because we had better players.

• I wasn’t really that mad about the Ford technical. I mean if you could choose a game to do it, I probably wouldn’t choose this one but it’s not a backbreaker. And if it gets you two or three calls in the second half then it was worth it. It’s actually kind of crazy that for all his theatrics on the bench all year he wasn’t even moving when he got it called.

• Barkley said at halftime that we “don’t play hard all the time.” We “play on talent.” I disagree. Everybody on the team goes hard pretty much all the time, they just often don’t know what they’re doing and do really dumb stuff quite often.

• Pangos would own the Colvin Center. His layups are just the silkiest.

• Yes, that’s the play.

• I was surprised at how often Gonzaga went away from the “throw it down low and it’s an automatic bucket” offense. It was working pretty well in the first half.

• The TNT excitement power rankings:

1. Hall-of-famer John Stockton
2. Mason Cox getting playing time
3. Showing replays of possible fouls and/or flagrants
4-922. I don’t know.
923. Everything else.

• You know how networks get in trouble for pumping in sneakers-on-hardwood sounds? They should try “ANDONE!” tracks after people score. You wouldn’t suspect it but it would seem normal since it happens on every single drive to the bucket.

• How many straight minutes of basketball do you think Pangos and Stockton could play? What if I set the over under at 250.5 minutes? They looked like they’d just got done with some light calisthenics at the end of the game.

• I really like Mark Few. He always seems like he’s in control of his team — doesn’t scream much, works the refs. He just seems like a really good coach. Brad Stevensish.

• Off-the-ball foul calls are the absolute worst. I hate them. Even when they’re actually fouls and my team benefits. I still hate them, they disrupt the entire game.

• I laughed at this.

• This was called an intentional foul. I’m in awe. So is the announcer. “He just grabbed right derrrhhhhhhh…”

• Hmm…

• There was a shot of Travis Ford’s wife that I took but I can’t post it. I feel too bad. That’s what this season has done to me.

• Get out of here.

• I like how, at the end of the game, Smart stops shooting threes when we actually need them.

• On the fouls — they clearly didn’t favor one team but it was probably the least enjoyable game I’ve ever watched. And Nash continues to get some of the most head-scratching calls I’ve ever seen.

• For as much of the stats as he stuffed, Marcus was putrid from the floor (5/14). He also missed seven free throws and had six turnovers.

• Rough.

• What do you think Pangos’ free throw percentage is late in games? Below or above 99 percent?

• For all the wackiness this season, this is definitely meaningful for everyone who was involved. Not sure any number of losses can take that away..

Next game: Florida State in Dallas…

  • g0p0kes

    That was the worst game I’ve ever sat through- and not just because we lost. I mean the enjoyability factor was like, ZERO. You forgot to mention the traveling call on Smart in the first half. You know, the one where that giant human being flicked Marcus onto the ground and then he slid across the floor and thus travelled.

  • ClanOfTheCowboy

    I’m sorry I am just flat tired of this can we please get a legit coach in here? Please.

  • Patrick

    Now would be a great time to steal someone from Kansas (and I’m not talking about Self). My guy is coaching Tulsa right now.

  • Coach Jackson

    Let’s not forget that if it wasn’t for Byron Eaton’s drive against Tennessee, Ford would have ZERO NCAA wins. I have coached for a long time and what we saw over the last 10-15 games was a team that the coach had lost control of. This team did have talent, but their basketball I.Q. is average at best and mix that with bad coaching, especially in critical situations, is a recipe for disaster. If Ford is back next year, outside the expansion of GIA, it will be the worst decision in Cowboy basketball history.

    • SoS

      Maybe the 3rd worst decision. I’d say the worst decision was extending Ford for TEN years after only 1 season

  • Jason

    Thank you Markel Brown. You had a great career.

    I like Manning too, but why not go after Gregg Marshall. He won’t be at Wichita much longer.

  • WillyJimson

    My buddy texted me and said he was at work and didn’t want to know anything about the OSU game. He was going to watch it on DVR later. I told him don’t bother. Horrid. Travis Ford is a pile of feces.

  • okstatefan

    If Travis Ford was coaching the Globetrotters the Generals would win every time!!! #newcoachforOSU

  • James Preener

    DUMP-STER FI-RE (clap clap, clap clap clap) DUMP-STER FI-RE (clap clap, clap clap clap) Make a move Mike Holder. Be a man or we will throw YOUR name into the replacement conversation. OUT.

  • Nate

    Just an atrocious performance. I won’t go too deep into what was an absolute train wreck, but does anyone here think Gonzaga is any good? Because they’re not. We had far and away the 3 best players on the floor but yet they controlled the game from the tip. Just embarrassing. This is what Oklahoma State basketball is now. Maybe sneak into the tournament and then bow out pathetically in the first round.

  • Kyle

    Travis’s wife (don’t know her name and don’t care to google it) had the “I think we are going to need a realtor soon” look.
    I know there’s almost zero chance but I’d be in contact with Shaka Smart and see what his number would be to move

  • kspokesfan

    Ok, Season is over and Ford is the greatest Coach to ever to grace our Maple hard wood floor. Lets say that over and over to see if it can be drilled into our heads. It won’t hurt as much when he is still here next season.

  • OklaStateU

    OSU Basketball is dead to me as long as Travis Ford is acting as the Head Coach.

    • willham

      For me, it’s still about the players. With Ford, I just know not to set my expectations very high. At all.

  • Tas

    Kyles dislike for Marcus Smart has reached a whole new level. He sets a tournament record and single handedly kept us in the game. From reading this article you would think that he just had an average at best game. One little section talking about his stats and how good they were then 2 or 3 sections taking jabs at him. I really think that I’m moving on from kyles “analysis” and just sticking with his site for the links. Marcus is still probably the best player in our programs recent history and Kyle wants to shun him every chance he gets. Cowboys are better than that to their own.

    • James Preener

      I think Markel Brown is a better player AND leader. BOOM. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. BYE.

      • Well, you’d be wrong (at least on the better player statement). But you’re certainly entitled to your wrong opinion.

        Never have I seen a more maligned star, who literally does everything for the team, than Marcus Smart. From his own fanbase, no less. It’s insane, and just goes to show how shitty of a fan base this really is, at times. He almost got a quad-droupel double and carried the team (somebody has to) but HEY forget that! He missed free throws and turned the ball over. That’s all that matters.

        Smart’s a better man than me if he sometimes doesn’t think, “**** you, ungrateful assholes.”

        • TT

          Yeah you’re right, we lost the game, but we should praise Smart for getting a tournament record, and for simply putting on an OSU uniform. That’s definitely more important than winning the game. You think the Knicks hold a thank you banquet at the end of every year for Carmelo just for playing for them?

        • ryanft

          For all that Smart does to help the team, he hurts the team a lot with his temper and up and down attitude. He was a time bomb last night and his attitude was rubbing off on the team. The refs were finally not letting him get away with drawing bogus fouls and he got frustrated and got in foul trouble. He is the best defender and had to be taken out of the game because of this late in the game. Smart is a heckuva player but its time for him to move on.

          • Cowboy

            You people are unbelievable.

          • T-Bone

            Yeah, like the time he got hammered to the floor by the Zag big man and only got a foul called. Meanwhile Forte barely touches the guys cheek with his elbow and gets a flagrant one. Smart takes a beating out there every game. He is strong and can take the hit but why does he have to? Bogus foul comment is bogus.

        • Kyle

          Yeah almost had a quadruple double if you count turnovers and or fouls.

          • You’re right, he didn’t have 7 assists and 6 steals.

            Of course, Smart was the only one in foul trouble. Or turnovers. Actually, now that I think about it, this IS all his fault. He played all positions and coached. I mean, he led in every statistical category possible. And we all know Ford doesn’t coach. That’s Smart’s job.

            Now I see why everybody blames Smart.

          • Kyle

            Another idiotic statement from you. Who said he didn’t have those? Who said he committed all 61 fouls? Who said anything about coaching. Why won’t acknowledge he’s not perfect. No one said it was all his fault. You should just stop commenting

          • Not saying he’s perfect, just that people expect him to be. And regarding the fouls, I was being sarcastic, but that’s lost on some people. People are oddly spending more time talking about his foul trouble than Nash’s, which was the bigger problem IMO.

            His missed FTs hurt us but didn’t cost us the game. We would have still lost by one had he hit them all.

          • Jake

            Nash plays out of position against bigger men. He has an excuse to be in foul trouble all the time…

          • That’s a good point, but so does Smart on many occasions. He’s always battling guys who are bigger than him down low. He’s never just solely guarding his position. And most of the time, he’s great at it. With this teams inside problems, he has to be.

    • Random Observer

      I don’t think Kyle dislikes Smart. He sees what the rest of us see: A uniquely talented player, whose career was wasted by a complete lack of discipline coming from his coach. This team had Elite Eight talent, but one-and-out execution. That falls completely on the coach’s shoulders.

    • TT

      We lost and you think Kyle didn’t praise Smart enough? WE LOST. I’d take a win over a tournament record and a loss any day, pretty sure the players (including Smart) would too. Do you remember what Durant did in his two tournament games? No, you just remember he lost. (FYI he had 27-8-1-3-1 in the 1st, and 30-9-1-1-2 in the second, and it was the most points ever by a freshman in the first two games of the NCAA tournament)

      Smart was great, but we need a great team, not a great player. (Granted this is more a coaching problem than anything)

    • Was talking to my buddy during the game about the same thing. Not sure when it happened but commentary on this blog has gone to… Definitely like the compiling of links but we get it you are unhappy with Ford

    • Kyle

      That last line is dumb. You’re probably still in undergrad and have no idea. You live a fantasy land if you think no one should ever say anything negative about osu. There is a difference between criticism and shunning. By your judgement you are a Marcus apologist and the guy can’t do any wrong.

  • Gregory Buck

    Hey guy, think about this. No really good coach stays at Tulsa for very long. Hire Manning!

    • CJ

      Stop. Tulsa lost to TCU twice this season. Tulsa had a nice, late run in the pathetic, one-bid C-USA.

      • Jake

        Can’t be worse than Ford. Can’t. Well, ok, I guess he could be just as inept, but with no ability to recruit.

  • willham

    On the upside, at least we don’t have the dishonor of being the only Big 12 team to lose in the first round as the higher-seeded team.

  • rootnstein

    Thinking back on this season, the suspensions, the lost players (injury and otherwise), the lack of roster depth, the close losses, the free throw shooting, the horrible (lack of) coaching, the Bedlam sweep, the tourney 1st round ouster, etc. etc. – reminds me of one of my favorite McCarthy quotes: “It’s the tide. It’s the dismal tide. It’s not the one thing.” Sums of my feelings 100%.

  • Ctc

    What about Fords halftime interview. We have to be more aggressive just more agressive need to have agressive things happen. I feel like he went into the locker room and gave them the B.E.A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E. cheer and told them to go warm up. He’s a joke. I’d take Sean back at this point…

  • Hoft

    (Gonzaga fan here) I really enjoyed your writing. (Because it’s entertaining/well-written, not because I’m being a gloating douche). We spend a lot of time in Zag-land bitching about Few — his whacky rotations, irrational love of Baby Stocks, his inability to make in-game adjustments / stick with what’s working, his lack of competitve fire. So it’s interesting to get an outside perspective. And yeah, watching the game, I can see why y’all think Ford is a moron; it seemed like there was a lot of stupid or undisciplined play, which offset the fact that (like one of the commenters said) you probably had the 3 best players on the floor.

  • Pistols Fired!!

    I try not to be critical of players… players are the result of their coaching… or lack thereof. With that said, I am past ready for the Ford-Smart (or should that be Smart-Ford, since the tail is wagging the dog in OSU basketball??) show to hit the road!! Marcus seems like a good enough young man that has shown me little of why he gets all the hype that he does. I am sure he will be an above average player in the NBA and that is high praise… But Mr Ford (sorry, but ‘Mr.’ is respectful, and ‘coach’ is unwarranted and unearned) is actually toxic to his success and has allowed bad habits developed in high school to not only linger, but to blossom!!
    This season reminds me of a recent stomach flu… it made me want to puke, and, even with my stomach empty, I couldn’t get hungry (for next season).

    • Agree. Not the best “leadership” for Smart to excel under.

  • Tommy

    I’m done with OSU bball while Ford is coaching. I can’t stand this mess anymore.

  • Jake

    As much as this is Travis Ford’s fault, and it is very much Travis Ford’s fault, Marcus Smart is overrated. He does not play “Smart” basketball. I’d take John Lucas over Marcus Smart everyday and twice on Sunday. Without the slightest hesitation. The poor shot selection, especially from three point range, the complete lack of patience, the boneheaded fouls and turnovers… talent isn’t everything. Then again, Lucas had Sutton coaching him and Smart has Ford. Maybe Smart being coached by Sutton would have been a once-in-a-lifetime great, but based on what they accomplished and how they played in clutch moments, Lucas > Smart.

    • rootnstein

      Jake – I’m in total agreement. I like and respect our players but your comments are right on the point. Under Eddie our players got better during their tenures at State and our teams got better from game one on each season. I remember ribbing assistant coach Self at a state basketball tournament game about a recruit he was scouting who he advised me (with a big smile) was a “project” and to trust him on this one. As I recall Gans did not do too well in its game that day but that “project” blossomed pretty well under the Suttons’ tutelage. And there are countless other examples of players who improved dramatically in the Sutton system.

      Under Ford our teams regress each season and few of our players develop like one would hope and expect.

    • Marcusfan

      I saw marcus in high school and he was coached by a disciplinarian and we saw none of the stuff we saw the last two years…. That coach is now an assistant at Boise St….. OSU could do worse. Coaching didn’t get the best out of marcus….

      • jane

        True ^^

      • Pistols Fired!!

        On behalf of the OSU faithful, we would like to sincerely apologize for Marcus’ regression… It can be attributed to our head ‘cheerleader’s’ tutelage.

  • Loyal cowgirl

    I can’t believe the things that are said here. A pile of feces. That from a Cowboy fan. How embarrassing.

    • Jake

      I don’t get what you’re saying here. Travis Ford is terrible. Marcus Smart never lived up to his potential. We played a terrible game and WAY underperformed this season. Which of those things isn’t true?

  • T-Bone

    Well, great season. Placed 8th in the Big 12 out of 9 & 1/2 teams. Had some special TV coverage at Texas Tech, got some luck down the stretch to barely make the NCAA tourney, played a tough opponent with those black and white striped uni’s, while Gonzaga scrubs made 52% of their shots while our great players managed a pedestrian 40%, did some crying, had some Ford clueless looks, had a gym rat who takes 10,000 shots after practice and goes 3 for 12 in the game, and with all the luck against us went down like a rag doll flopping onto the floor. Just wait till next year. Ford looks like he would make a fantastic broadcaster. It’s all good.

    • Jake

      He is really good at complimenting teams.