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10 thoughts on West Virginia

Thoughts, notes, videos, and more on the WVU-OSU game.

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This team is going to be terrifying in March. And I don’t mean that in a 95-96 Bulls kind of way either.

OSU sneaked by West Virginia in Morgantown 73-72 on a Markel Brown three-pointer (his first since December 17th!) and harrowingly moved to 2-1 on the young Big 12 season.

West Virgina used a hot-shooting first half and some early second-half foul trouble from the Pokes to hang around and take a late lead but Marcus Smart was a monster down the stretch.

To recap: After an Oklahoma State timeout with 5:42 left the Cowboys had a 64-61 lead. Marcus hit a three, got two offensive boards, had a putback, and tossed the game-winning assist to Markel Brown (video above) to seal the deal.

He was incredible on the boards with a career-high 13 of them (including six on the offensive end!) and chipped in five assists, a steal, and a block as well.

West Virginia isn’t great (maybe we’re underrating the Big 12 in general?) but a win on the road is a win on the road. For context, I went back and looked at the first two Big 12 road games the ’04 Final Four team played. They lost the first one at Tech by 20 and won the second one at KSU by one. That worked out all right for them in the end.

I think this year’s squad has some bigger-picture issues and if we’re being honest it seems like this season has second-round upset written all over the end of it, but I can’t take away from what they did today.

Sure, it seems like this team should be beating teams like West Virginia by 10-12 points whether they’re playing in Morgantown, the town square, or Dana Holgorsen’s favorite watering hole but at this point I’m just glad to get a W.[1. I don’t know what this says about me or this team, if anything.]

One thing is true, however, OSU will get an auto-win at home on Wednesday against TCU but they better figure out how to close in the next because it’s KU in Lawrence time seven days from today.

And there will be no escape act at the end of that one.

More thoughts…

• Somehow I’m not surprised chanting a player’s first name is as creative as taunting gets in Morgantown.

• Did the benches in Morgantown used to be on the bottom of your TV screen or am I making that up? I’m probably making that up.

• This is true but you have to figure it out at some point…

• Travis Ford is now 12 and 32 in Big 12 road games. Do with that what you will.

• I know he made one but what about Marcus’ last month screams “you should definitely be taking step-back threes even when you could pretty easily get to the lane and thus, the line.”

• It felt like WVU couldn’t miss in the first half and yet OSU was shooting a higher percentage at halftime (45.2% to 44.7%).

• The WVU crowd shots were perfect. I know every town has its stereotypes but these couldn’t have been better unless Dana was crowdsurfing on a flaming couch.

• The announcer that wasn’t Bryndon Manzer said “the only cavities…” regarding the bad parts of Marcus’ game. I’m pretty sure he meant caveats, but I laughed regardless.

• Are we ruling out that Ford has built into the gameplan that OSU take it easy on its aggression in the first half so it can stay out of foul trouble on the road and then get after it in the second half. You’re kind of playing with fire, scarecrow, but it’s also not the worst idea ever.

• I don’t know why this is so difficult..Kansas’ were insane today.

• Well this is awesome.

• I have to say I’ve been pretty disappointed in Brian Williams of late. He still plays good defense but he needs to rebound better (two in 15 minutes?) and not be non-existent on offense. I expected more out of him this season.

• The “Marcus Smart gets in foul trouble on the road and it hurts his team” thing is officially a thing. I don’t care how or why or anything. If you’re an All-American you have to figure out a way to not take yourself out of games (especially on the road).

• I loved this play:

• The final lines between OSU and WVU are eerily similar. I mean, this is insane.

Screen shot 2014-01-11 at 5.14.35 PM

Screen shot 2014-01-11 at 5.14.30 PM

Also, I like that OSU was just barely out-rebounded.

• Smart had more offensive boards than anybody else playing in this game.

• 10 assists and 11 turnovers will not get it done for this team. The non-Smart starters combined for two assists. Come on.

• I’m really glad Markel hit that three for many reasons but chief amongst them might be that I didn’t have to hear a “just like football!” chant.

• This is also great.

• Maybe this doesn’t matter as much as it seems like it does but I feel like our go-to plays in the halfcourt are just long threes most of the time. That or feed it to Nash and hope something happens.

• Mike Gansey will always be a top five favorite West Virginia player for me, football or hoops.

• Anybody else think Ford teams kind of just play to their competition? I fully expect us to roll with KU for most of the game next week.

• It feels like Forte has been great the last few games. He was only 3-8 from three today but he has the ability to flip a game around on a single possession. OSU needs him to be on to beat the KUs, Baylors, and Iowa States of the world.

Next game: TCU in GIA on Wednesday

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