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OSU loses to Memphis 73-68

The 40-0 dream is over but this is still a great team.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI


Marcus Smart was really bad. That’s the first thing you need to know. The second is that for the third straight game OSU completely fell apart in the second half of a basketball game.

The Cowboys could only muster 26 second-half points after putting up 25 in the second against Butler on Friday afternoon. That’s fine, I suppose, because your offense is going to be off at times (Markel and Marcus combined to go 8/26 against Memphis) but it’s disconcerting that neither game was a case of “the shots not falling” or OSU “just being a tad off.”

No, this team has (had?) been marked so far this year by a feisty defense that creates a fluid offense and in these last two games (three, if you count the Purdue scare) it has gone from being the attacker to being the attacked.

That’s worrisome.

Marcus Smart threw up during the middle of the game on Sunday and I’m sure when he watches film of the last two games of OSU offense he probably will again. It has been barf-worthy. And, as great as he is and has been for this team, I kind of have to lay the blame at the feet of No. 33.

He’s been in hero ball mode the last three halves of basketball and is now shooting 34 percent on the year from three-point range (1/10 against Butler and Memphis). It’s not that he hasn’t been putting up numbers or making plays but OSU needs him to be efficient and he hasn’t been.

Maybe it’s not all on him, maybe when OSU goes in the locker room at halftime Travis Ford says “give the ball to Marcus and enjoy watching a future first round pick” — and given his track record I wouldn’t bet a ton of money against this — but whatever it is, OSU needs to fix it. You can’t go 11/28 in the second half against a halfway decent team and expect to come away with Ws.

It’s not panic time by any means but this team needs to choose to pressure and attack in close games. It’s easy to do it against Mississippi Valley at home when you’re up 35 — Amilian, Nolan, and I can do that — but you have to trust the trapping, swarming defense when you’re down four with four minutes left against a top 25 team as well.

You have to choose what you’re going to be.

I’m glad, though, that this game came on December 1 and not March 21. This was your “hey, maybe we aren’t as tight as we all think we are” game and hopefully a call to Ford and Co. that this team isn’t going to win with a stagnant halfcourt offense (he should have learned this by now, yes?) and mediocre outside shooting.

The loss is on Smart, yes, but there’s opportunity to change the way you play close games here for everybody. I just hope Ford seizes it.

More thoughts…

• Marcus’ shot selection is questionable at times. I’m not sure why, the seems like something he would have already defeated, but he hasn’t. He hero balls at odd times.

• Markel shoes update:

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• Markel leads the nation in “wow” rebounds. Has to.

• If ESPN is going to broadcast every single OSU game this season it needs to get some new talking points or I’m going to have to switch to Dave Hunziker (which I should probably do anyway). I can tell you for sure eight things the announcers are going to talk about every single game, without fail.

Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 7.41.05 PM

• Just adding to that legend (kind of).

• Also, maybe this is why he’s sick?

• And this killed me.

• Sometimes I wonder if Cobbins is taking more off the table than he’s bringing to it. Like that fat, single uncle you had over for Thanksgiving this year. Then he tip-dunks a Marcus miss and I forget about it, but yeah, it still lingers…

• I missed this the other night but Travis Ford tweeted it. It’s amazing:

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• How good did this tournament make GIA look? OSU shouldn’t lose at home there all season.

• I’m sorry but Kamari Murphy elevating from close range looks like what I’d imagine a baby giraffe playing with its friends would look like. That 15-foot jumper is wet, though.

• Speaking of jumpers, Brian Williams is doing “third guy on a Final Four” things for OSU right now. He won’t get any headlines and probably won’t be the third-best guy in any random game you watch but he’s been as consistent as Jacob Lacey getting beat over the top from 2005-2008.

• Josh Pastner and I went to the same high school. His dad ran a youth league in our town and coached a bunch of AAU teams. His sister was a baller (played at Texas Tech).

• What five OSU players (in order) would you want to have on the foul line to ice a game? Here’s my list:

1. Phil Forte
2. Phil Forte left-handed
3. Markel Brown
4. Le’Bryan Nash
5. Marcus Smart

• Marcus Smart trying KD’s rip move was actually pretty funny after some of you used it as justification (?) for him flopping so much.

• People on Twitter mentioned this but it’s really hard to beat a top 25 team twice in two weeks.

• I’m Defcon 3 with the Stevie situation right now. I’m not sure if OSU would have won this single game with him but over the long haul, he’s definitely needed.

• Is it just me or does Le’Bryan act, more often than not, like he doesn’t understand the rules of basketball, specifically when it comes to fouling other players…?

• I stopped counting but the number of boxing references during the telecast was staggering. Had to be 10+.

• The officiating wasn’t lopsided (I know most of you always think it is) but it was definitely different from game to game. I don’t know that one way or another favors OSU but I’m also not sure I trust Ford to adapt by the game…

• Smart always goes to the bucket after the other team makes a big bucket. Always. And it almost always works. So why the yanked 26-footers? I don’t understand.

• OSU leads the nation in technicals after dunks. Probably always has.

• I mentioned it at the top but that crunch-time offense is all sorts of hideous. You might as well just give it to Forte at halfcourt and say “let it ride, little guy.”

• Speaking of Forte, he was great tonight. Perfect for who OSU needs him to be, even. Easily OSU’s best guy on O, if they can get him to do that when Markel and Marcus are doing Markel and Marcus things, that’s trouble for the Big 12.

• Cobbins is a 43 percent free throw shooter?!?! How is this possible??

• Smart’s flopping is just the worst. Is he 6’4 225 or not? I know you guys think he gets smoked every time he hits the deck but that’s kind of why he does it, because it’s easy to fool people. Maybe it’s a competitive advantage, maybe not, but as a basketball (sports) fan, I loathe it.

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