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10 Thoughts: West Virginia



This Marcus Smart Euro step was just heavenly.


OSU rolled easily in Morgantown (drinks on Holgo tonight!) to get Travis Ford his 100th win as a Cowboy. There was chatter, mostly from me and Vegas (3.5-point spread?) that this could be a trap game for OSU. Markel and Co. made sure that didn’t happen while waiting for Smart to rebound from his three-foul first two minutes to shut the door early in the second half. Ten more thoughts…

1. Let’s talk about that first half for a minute. I was terrified of this team on the road sans Marcus Smart about two hours ago. I thought if he got hurt or got in foul trouble (like he did) OSU would just go in the tank. Nash would play hero ball, Markel would start trying to hammer from beyond the free throw line, Jurick might kill somebody with a punch.

Instead, the exact opposite happened. Smart’s early departure (17:30 left in the first half) actually galvanized this team. Even made them better at times. Could be big come tourney time.

2. I’m pretty sure somebody read our post from yesterday. OSU trapped for most of the game (even when leading), Nash ran the basline and went to the post, and OSU shot the second-fewest number of threes they’ve shot all year. THAT’S WHY WE’RE WRITING STORIES (see comments section on linked post).

3. I loved Smart taking a charge with a 20 point lead, 72 seconds left in the game, and about 165 people left in the arena. Really just says everything you ever wanted to know about him as a player.

4. Brian Williams, my man, welcome to the “major key to how far a four or five-seed goes in the tournament and could even potentially take over a tournament game” party. Glad you’re here. “Forte?” “As in Phil Forte?” “Oh yeah, he left a couple of hours ago. Not sure if he’s coming back or not.”

5. I’m not even sure if I would call it “midrange.” More like “mid-midrange.” And on that note, I’ve never seen a bigger disparity in an inside-outside game from somebody. He’s SO good around the rim and SO bad outside the three-point line.

6. When Jon Sciambi asked Fran whether he thought the Spurs or Heat was the best NBA team, I swear to you, I thought Fran was going to say:

“Well if the Thunder would draft Marcus Smart it would easily be them.”

Fran also said this during the broadcast: “nobody’s a bigger fan of Marcus Smart than me.” You don’t say?

7. I think we had my favorite Le’Bryan Nash moment ever today. OSU had the ball in the middle of the second half and the shot clock was winding down. The WVU fans were counting it down for him about five or six seconds ahead of what the actual time on the shot clock was — as road crowds are prone to do.

Except that Le’Bryan had no clue they were juking him so he threw up a turnaround three-point prayer with six seconds on the shot clock…….that Brian Williams easily tipped in. His whole career in five seconds: innocence, naivete, ridiculousness, disbelief…and somehow it worked.

8. They called Cobbins “the custodian” on the broadcast, which I love. I liken his tip-dunk to the Randle shimmy, you can bank on at least one a game. I also agree with this sentiment…

9. I loved Markel taking over as the primary ball-handler in the first half with Smart out. Kirby Gardner looked about as excited as me at one of my wife’s knitting conferences to be handed the reins with 17+ minutes left in the first half so Markel coming through was huge. Plus, like I’ve been saying for three years now, he’s really good with the ball in his hands. I’m not sure anybody in the Big 12 can totally lock him down — he seems to be able to get to the lane whenever he wants (like Smart) and is a monster once he gets there. He’s becoming so complete.

10. The officiating, my Lord. This wasn’t called a foul and yet bumping somebody 45 feet from the bucket is. I feel like we’re at the point where we have to wonder if the NCAA is letting its officials train themselves by giving them NBA League Pass and saying “go get ’em.”

At TCU on Wednesday.

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