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Three Ways Oklahoma State’s Offense Should Look Different under Steve Lutz

On pace, 2s vs. 3s and free throws.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Cowboys will have a different look to them in 2024-25.

Oklahoma State fired Mike Boynton on March 14 and hired Steve Lutz on Monday. As things stand, Lutz has seven scholarships to give out over the coming months to finalize his first OSU team. But even more than that, Lutz will implement his own sets and schemes.

After scouring KenPom in the hours since Lutz’s appointment, here are three ways the Cowboys’ offense ought to look different in 2024-25.


A lot has already been made of this, but if you haven’t heard, Lutz’ Hilltoppers ranked tops nationally in KenPom’s adjusted pace. Their average offensive possession lasted 14.6 seconds.

For comparison’s sake, OSU ranked 206th this past season in adjusted tempo with the Cowboys’ average possession taking 17.7 seconds.

Now, Lutz’s teams haven’t always been among the most up-tempo in the country, but they have always played faster than Oklahoma State over the past three years.

Here is a look at OSU’s adjusted tempo numbers compared to Lutz’s teams. The main number is possessions; the number in parenthesis is national rank.

23-24 22-23 21-22
Oklahoma State 67.1 (206) 67.4 (167) 67.6 (142)
Lutz 75.2 (1) 69.0 (88) 69.4 (63)

Is OSU going to be the fastest-playing team in the country next season? Probably not.

The Big 12’s fastest team this past season was TCU at 69.8, which ranks 64th nationally. Conference USA last season had three teams play faster than that. Of the 32 conferences, Conference USA ranked ninth in tempo at 68.5. The Big 12 ranked 27th at 67.2. Surely the rest of the Big 12 will slow Lutz’s attack to some extent.

The Cowboys do seem destined to play faster next season than they have in some time, but just how fast remains to be seen.

2 > 3?

Don’t show that to a mathematician.

The Steph Curry era of basketball has seen more and more 3s being shot at every level of the sport, but Lutz’s teams have utilized 2-point shots more than the Cowboys have of late.

The numbers are probably closer than people realize because OSU really just started relying on the 3 this past season, being more personnel-based than anything, but this past season only 25.3% of WKU’s points came from 3, while 56.4% came from 2. For OSU, 34.3% of points came from 3 while 46.9% came from 2.

Lutz’s Texas A&M-Corpus Christi teams were on fairly similar splits to OSU in 2022-23 and 2021-22.

Here is a look at those numbers in chart form. It’s percentage of points from 2/percentage of points from 3.

23-24 22-23 21-22
Oklahoma State 46.9%/34.3% 51.1%/30.1% 57.8%/23.5%
Lutz 56.4%/25.3% 49.1%/29.3% 52.6%/24.3%

Funnily enough, though, in all three of those seasons Lutz’s teams shot a better 3-point percentage than OSU.

Free-er Throws

Perhaps the one area that has grinded OSU fans’ gears more than anything over recent history is free throw shooting.

As a team, the Cowboys haven’t shot above 70% from the foul line since Cade Cunningham was running the show. The past three seasons, OSU has shot 69.7%, 69.4% and 66.7% from the line.

Meanwhile, Lutz-coached teams haven’t shot below 70%: 72.1%, 80.1% and 74.3%.

That 80.1% year came in Lutz’s second season with the Islanders and ranked second nationally.

Across the same seasons, Lutz’s squads have shot more free throws than OSU has, which probably helps in the percentage department. That has a lot to do with something we’ve already discussed: increased possessions.

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