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Thoughts on the Memphis game

What a night in GIA!



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI


I am floored. I don’t even know what to say about this performance (just kidding, you have 1,100 words to read after this). I mean I understand the blowouts of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley Jerry Rice State but Memphis isn’t a joke and OSU just completely undressed them.

They had no answers for Marcus Smart — who had a career-high 39 — and very little for Markel Brown and Brian Williams. There was just nothing they could do as the Pokes forged ahead to a 101-80 victory.

The offensive performance — 49% from the field, 45% from three and 77% from the free throw line — was impressive but I was blown away by OSU’s defense. Forget the 80 Memphis scored, it took them 70 (!) shots to do it. The “best backcourt in the country” looked utterly lost inside the small confines of GIA.

Many, many thoughts…

• Le’Bryan Nash bringing the ball up is equivalent to David Glidden fielding punts. Also, this is a real thing that went down tonight:

• Is Joe Jackson a great basketball name or the best basketball name?

• This is a pretty crazy statistic: This game was the first time that a ranked non-conference opponent has played in GIA while school was in session since 1989, when the Cowboys hosted No. 16 Memphis on Dec. 5 of that year.

• Gallagher-Iba will never be full again for a game like this. It might be full for KU or OU but that’s it. It’s not a Ford thing or a bad fans thing. It’s just an “it’s 2013 and you built the thing 4,000 seats too big” thing.

• Amazing…

• At halftime some ESPN guys went over to KD (oh yeah, KD was there tonight) and asked what he thought of Marcus Smart. He said “He’s really good.” Then he said this after the game:

• I was told earlier this week Memphis had the best backcourt in the country. They didn’t even have the best backcourt in this game.

• I want to watch Bilas and Smart watch film forever. Maybe Weeden and Gruden, too.

• Wow. Come on, Seth!

• Jay Bilas went to practice earlier this week. Here’s what he said on the broadcast: “I couldn’t believe how athletic OSU is. Brian Williams might be the best athlete on the floor.” Brian Williams!

• Well this is pretty much the best thing ever:

• I liked the Cobbins lefty shot a lot. He went to it at least once in the first half. I’m in. He also used the lefty hook on multiple occasions. OSU doesn’t need him to score a ton but if he can drop 8-10 a night, that’s perfect.

• Yup.

• Travis Ford screaming “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!” to, I believe, Brian Williams in the first half was pretty awesome.

• OSU’s first half was the thing Final Four teams are made of. 47% from the field, 41% from three, 27 rebounds, 10 assists, 8 steals, 6 blocks. It was just a work of art. Against the No. 11 team in the country!

• Fantastic:

• To the dude who made the Josh Holliday face sign behind Memphis’ bucket to wave during timeouts: I respect that.

• This is a great vine.

• Wow…

• One interesting thing I saw in the first half was Smart getting out of the way on a fast break by Memphis. That’s a direct result of the new foul rules. Last year he definitely would have tried to take the charge. Smart, though.

• I was pretty interested to see how Stevie Clark responded to big-boy basketball and he didn’t disappoint after three early turnovers. Nine points, four assists, and two steals, and 13,611 new friends.

• Yes.

• ESPN noted that Travis Ford has turned over film-watching to Marcus Smart and Co. at Smart’s apartment. That’s a little strange, I guess, but as OKC Dave said, I think I’m ok with it.

• This is just outstanding. This sums up everything I’ve said tonight in five words:

• Mark Travis of CRFF got a shout from Jay Bilas tonight for this piece. He’s a freshman at OSU, I’m jealous.

• Your new NBA tanking phrase: “Fall apart for Smart”

• These two deserve each other, in the best way possible.

• Markel Brown Jordan update: He was in the 13s tonight. Not my favorite but he can wear whatever he wants at this point.

• Is there a team in the country OSU wouldn’t he beaten tonight? I say no. Memphis is supposedly the 11th best team in the country!

• Here are the seven biggest single-game scoring performances in school history:

1. Bob Kurland — 58
2. Randy Rutherford — 45
3. Arlen Clark — 42
4. Ed Odom — 41
5. Keiton Page — 40
5. JamesOn Curry — 40
7. Marcus Smart — 39
7. Bryant Reeves — 39[1. Two others also hit 39 but the OSU media guide doesn’t list them.]

• I love that Smart is still talking about the Oregon game. He talked to Bilas about it in the postgame, that’s terrific.

• The crowd wasn’t all-time but the students were fantastic. Between the “Brittany Griner!” chant and the “this is our house” chants, well done. You’re ready for conference play.

• Did Le’Bryan have the quietest 10 rebounds of all-time, or what? I barely even noticed him. He only had five points but he made good decisions with the ball and didn’t take any shots beyond 12 feet. Progress.

• OSU’s defense tonight was an absolute joke. I know Memphis scored 80 but it took them 70 shots to do it (they shot 15% from three). If OSU can consistently defend like that at home I’m not sure any team can beat them there.

• Seriously though, how cool is it that KD randomly comes to Tuesday night college basketball games?

• I’ve been trying to tell you guys about Brian Williams. He had 15 and 8 tonight and looked pretty easily like OSU’s third-best player. I’m not sure he’ll ever take over a game like Marcus or Markel but he’s the kind of dude you need to go to a Final Four.

• It might be an optical illusion but did Smart jump over this dude?

• I wish I would have seen this:

• Marcus’ first half was just a total joke. He was heat-checking with ease. Carson texted me (he was there) and said it was one of the most special moments he’s ever experienced inside of GIA (and he’s been there for a lot of them). I can’t disagree.

• OSU was without its leading scorer tonight…

• I’m trying pretty hard to tell myself that Memphis is in fact probably pretty overrated at No. 11 but I’m having a hard time not being all in on this OSU team. They did everything you want from an OSU team in GIA tonight.

They defended, they trapped, they were relentless, they played to the crowd and hit big time threes and let one of the three best players in the country take over.

If Bill Self wins the Big 12 again they’re going to give him an hour-long show with David Blaine on ABC next November.

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