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Some lingering thoughts on the end of the regular season…

Crazy day in Ames. Some final thoughts from the regular season.



I went to a wedding as the game was ending (I watched OT on my phone while driving)[1. Don’t tell my parents!] and so Amilian got to take over the 10 thoughts. He did a great job but I had a bunch of stuff bouncing around in my head all night that I needed to get out.

So here we are…

• I wanted to wait until the end of the season to criticize (or praise) our conference performance because so much can happen from week to week (day to day?) but Travis Ford “leading” a team with Le’Bryan Nash, Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and literally any other 12 guys you want to throw out there to an 8th place finish in the Big 12 is not acceptable.

Yes the Big 12 was tough, yes folks got hurt and peed out of cars and went into the crowd but my gosh, OU finished second! OU! WHO ON OU IS GOOD?! DO THEY HAVE ONE PLAYER AS GOOD AS THE O-STATE TRIUMVIRATE?

They don’t.

And we can sit here and make excuse after excuse about why this or how that but here’s the reality of how OSU has finished in the Big 12 in Ford’s six years at the helm:

2009 — 7th
2010 — 7th
2011 — 9th
2012 — 7th
2013 — 3rd
2014 — 8th

Is that who we are? If so, then fine, I’ll shut up about it. But I tend to believe that an Oklahoma State basketball program should be at least (at LEAST) average in the Big 12. And Travis Ford-coached teams have only finished in the upper half of the conference one time.

• The postseason is going to be pretty fascinating. I really thought if OSU beat Iowa State on Saturday and slipped into the sixth seed (which it wouldn’t have anyway because Baylor (?!) won at Kansas State) then it could have won the Big 12 Tournament. I don’t think you can do that from the eight slot because of how many games you’re required to play and how shallow our squad is.

But still, raise your hand if you’re a 7-seed or 6-seed and want the Pokes in the first round [zero hands go up]. That’s a handful in the first round and will be a handful in the second for a 2-seed or 3-seed. Are we disciplined to go the distance against the nation’s best squads? Doubtful, but if I’m a coach in the upper crust that’s not a gamble I want to wage.

• The ease with which this team could win games is borderline infuriating. It had a 16-point (!) lead with 16 minutes left and just fell apart. Marcus missed his last three threes (but hey, keep shooting) and our refusal to get into the lane and draw fouls is just a spectacle at times. I can’t begin to unravel it.

• On my tweet today with nine seconds left and a four-point lead..

Should I have sent it? Nope. Was I on my way out the door to the wedding I was in and trying to wrap things up prematurely? Yep. Did it lose the game and require multiple “fu** you” replies from folks on Twitter? I’m guessing no but I tend to not take sports as seriously as some.

Some of you need to chill a little bit about OSU athletics. Is it fun to follow? Absolutely. Do I enjoy it as much as anybody out there? I do. Is it so important to me that I verbally abuse (because whatever bow you want to tie on it, that’s actually what it’s called) other folks on Twitter who “jinx” the end of a game where my team is trying to rocket up the Big 12 standings to 7th place? It is not.

Look, I broke the fan code, I get it. It was a rookie mistake by somebody who definitely isn’t a rookie. But to all of you who wrote with grotesque language that I should do anatomically impossible things to my body, that’s pretty embarrassing for you.

I don’t mind the good-natured ribbing that Twitter and blog comments provide. I deserve all of them and laugh at most but for you to go beyond that is…well…it’s appalling. I usually don’t retweet the clowns that tweet ridiculous stuff at me because I think it’s kind of annoying but I did today because some of you deserve to be exposed.

This isn’t Kyle Porter-centric issue either. Some of the stuff that people tweet at athletes, celebs, etc. is just un-readable. If I was an athlete — or somebody who didn’t rely on Twitter as part of the gig — I really question whether or not I would be on it. That’s how awful some people make what should be a fantastic medium.

OK, rant over. We’re good now.

• Ames, man, that’s not a fun place. Since 2011 we’ve had the Sharp FG game, the banked three at the buzzer later that year, and now this. As well as OSU played for most of that game and as well as they responded at the end, it didn’t feel like a game they deserved to lose. And that three, I mean, it felt like it took six minutes to develop. I kept waiting for the horn and…nothing, nothing, nothing, horn, “oh crap,” swish.

• There was some confusion at the end of regulation about fouling or not fouling up three with under six seconds left. Obviously you want to foul there. That’s not a retroactive armchair QB call, it’s just the right one.

So here’s what was said:

That looks like a blatant contradiction but I don’t think it is. It was loud as crap inside Hilton and I genuinely think both sides are being honest and correct. Ford was screaming after Forte missed the FT and nobody heard him.

The real issue is that you should have that plan in place before Forte misses the free throw and you’re trying to scream over 15,000 maniacs who and how to foul. That should be part of who you are as a team, shouldn’t it?

• This is great. Good on him for saying that because he’s right.

• I know we’re going to miss Marcus on a fundamental level but I’m having a hard time expressing how much we are (but specifically I am) going to miss Markel. 44 more minutes today — 26 points, 12 boards, four assists, two blocks. He’s an all-time OSU guy and I know I’m beyond biased but nobody will be able to convince me differently.

• It’s been a strange season. I somehow (still) haven’t written my “Travis Ford must go” piece because that looks a little foolish after this team makes an Elite 8 run in a few weeks but what a disaster the year was.

I was thinking on the way home from my wedding tonight how much I (or anyone) would have (deservedly) been torched for writing before the season started that this team would finish 8th (EIGHTH!) in the Big 12 this year. That’s the second-worst a Travis Ford OSU team has ever finished and the only team that was worse had Marshall Moses as its best player.

There aren’t many ways to look at that as not a disaster.

And still there were some unique, really great moments this year. Beating KU was one. The Memphis first half was another. There’s just something…I don’t even totally know what it is…something missing. I don’t totally know if it’s Ford’s personality or a chemistry thing but it’s something.

And ultimate the responsibility for that rests at Ford’s feet, fair or not.

We’ll talk more in the next few weeks but I had to get all that on my chest before wrapping up the weekend.

Thank you, as always, for reading Pistols Firing.

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