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Texas Hammers OSU to Stay Perfect




The story
I’ll say this…it could have been a LOT worse.

Texas came out of the gate strong,  I thought the graphic ESPN showed depicting their early-game dominance was intriguing. They’re currently last in the Big 12 in FT% so it’s almost as if they have to get up big on teams early because you don’t really want Dogus Balbay and Tristan Thompson going to the line in crunch time to win you games. Ultimately I think that’s going to be their achilles heel in the tournament. Below are the last five title winners and where they ranked nationally in terms of FT%:

Duke – 8th
North Carolina – 19th
Kansas – 132nd
Florida – 173rd
Florida – 32nd

Texas is 294th — but it hasn’t mattered yet because they’ve only won one game in conference by less than ten points. It’ll start mattering in about a month.

Anyway, back to the game. OSU kind of semi-hung around in the first half. Moses got in foul trouble early (I can pretty much build a template for my game recaps around that sentence) and JPO coughed it up so many times I think even Keith Toston had to look away. Still the Pokes were only down eleven at the break.

You could kind of sense Texas was going to explode though, and they did, to the tune of an 11-2 run at the beginning of the second half that all but sealed it.

It’s been tough for OSU to play well on the road to begin with and that degree of difficulty gets exponential in a hurry when their leading scorer and rebounder is sitting next to Travis Ford.

Markel and Pilgrim had a pair of really strange stat lines that little to no bearing on the final score (which was 73-55 by the way). Pilgrim had 4 points and 14 rebounds while Markel put up his normal Andrei Kirilenko-esque 14-3-2-1-3.

When it was over
I hate to admit this but when Keiton bounced it off his foot into Tristan Thompson’s head in the first half with about 15 minutes left I wrote that it was over. Why does Travis Ford refuse to put Markel at the point? I just can’t understand why he continues to run Keiton out there when he is clearly not a high-level Big 12 point guard and his shooting suffers on account of it. In fact, I’d rather see Reger Dowell running around out there than Keiton, especially with the way he played at the end of the game. At this point what does OSU have to lose? A drop in NIT seeding?

Stat I loved
OSU shot 33% from beyond the arc and that actually raised  its season average. Interestingly, Texas actually shot below its season averages in FG, 3PT, and FT but it didn’t matter because OSU had a 17 turnovers.

How OSU could have won
I honestly don’t know. Texas is overbearing, they never let up. I really think the only way to beat them is to go WAY up early, hold on until about the 34 or 35 minute mark, and then just get into a free throw shooting contest with them.

Player of the game
Has to be Markel. One of the lone bright spots for me this season has been the fact that he’s logged so many minutes. As so many people have pointed out, he’s raw, and he makes atrocious decisions at times, and he looks lost. But you catch glimpses of how good his future can be. If I could urge him to work on two things this offseason they would be:

  1. Learn every position in the offense. It’ll be interesting to see where Ford puts him next year with Nash coming in and Gulley back but it would behoove him to know all five positions.
  2. Get a go-to midrange jumper. He could average 18-5-4 with a midrange J and a little direction.

The rest of my notes

  • The video graphic when everyone for Texas was moving back and forth with the state capitol in the background was really scary…I thought Dogus was going to jump out of my computer screen onto my desk and start playing with my hair or something. Whose idea was that?
  • Hey Hubert it’s not Oh-lee-KEY-me, stop saying that. I don’t need you butchering names all night. I need to figure out how to stream Hunziker online, does anybody know if that’s possible?
  • I wrote a note to myself to check Jordan Hamilton’s all-time stats against us. Well, here they are: last year in Stillwater – 27-4-1-0-1, last year in Austin – 13-5-2-3-0, this year in Stillwater – 12-11-2-1-0, and this year in Austin – 15-6-1-0-2. I think it’s safe to say, he owns us.
  • I don’t know what the single-season NCAA record is for fouls from offensive screens but I’m positive OSU is trying to shatter it.
  • Why does Pilgrim look like the next Oliver Miller 70% of the time but the other 30% he looks like the next Charles Barkley? Can’t we find a middle ground of like, I dunno, Ivan McFarlin or something?
  • I don’t need Matt Hill slingin’ in 5-foot line drive jump hooks.
  • Why did Mark Jones keep calling us the “cowpokes”?
  • It looks like Markel is trying to run the gamut of Jordans this year. I think he was in the IIIs tonight.
  • I had a great text exchange with one of my friends near the end of the first half. I said, “my gosh, I hope our recruits aren’t watching this.” He replied, “I wish I wasn’t watching this.”

This is about what we all expected I suppose. It doesn’t make it sting any less though. Somebody tweeted me in the waning seconds and said, “is it bad that I’d actually much rather play Texas in football than basketball right now?” It’s unfortunately true. It’s sad too because OSU and Texas used to play some epic basketball games. I’m not even talking about the 3OT game either. They used to both be heavyweights who traded blows on each other’s home court. Now it’s more like Texas is Tyson in his prime and OSU is some guy off the street. It’s not pretty.

Next game: Saturday against A&M in Stillwater

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