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Posts tagged with Marcus Smart

One more time: Oklahoma State and Kansas tangle again

Both times Kansas and Oklahoma State met on the basketball court during the regular season, the Cowboys' guard-oriented attack gave the Jayhawks some trouble.

The first time around, KU held off a second-half OSU surge to earn an 80-78 win at Allen Fieldhouse.

In the rematch, the Jayhawks weren't as lucky, and lost, 72-65, at Gallagher-Iba Arena, in Stillwater, Okla.

Now comes Cowboys vs. Jayhawks, Part 3 — in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals at 2 p.m., at Sprint Center, in Kansas City, Mo.

One of the preseason Big 12 favorites is going home to regroup for the NCAAs. And it could be No. 10 Kansas (23-8) if the Cowboys (21-11) have their way.

OSU, after all, has won five of its last six games since Marcus Smart's return from his suspension, with its only loss coming in overtime at Iowa State — on the Cyclones' Senior Day.

Meanwhile, Kansas has lost two of its last three.

After Oklahoma State disposed of Texas Tech, 80-62, Wednesday night, coach Travis Ford uttered some words that should frighten any team that faces OSU from this point on: "I thought we ran our offense — for the first time — pretty complete for 40 minutes. We took good shots, we had good possessions."

That's right, the man in charge of this ultra-talented, if underachieving, group said Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte had not run the offense full throttle until now.

Of course, Texas Tech (14-18) isn't Kansas. But think about it this way: a team that already has split with KU is just starting to get it. And Kansas doesn't have 7-foot freshman center Joel Embiid to protect the paint this time.

OSU plans to attack KU off the dribble to get points in the paint. And if that works, Nash pointed out, it could mean difficulties for Kansas on more than one front.

"They bench is shorter now," Nash said Wednesday night. "We get 'em in foul trouble, maybe it can work out for us."

On that note, here's a brief refresher on OSU's core six players.

Marcus Smart, No. 33

6-4, 220, so. guard

Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart celebrates before the Kansas bench as the Cowboys close out the game on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart celebrates before the Kansas bench as the Cowboys close out the game on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 at KU: 16 points, 3/14 FGs, 0/6 3s, 10/10 FTs, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals, 3 turnovers in 39 minutes.

— March 1 vs KU: 21 points, 5/14 FGs, 2/7 3s, 9/14 FTs, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers in 36 minutes.

Too strong to be slowed down by a foul, one of the nation's elite guards finishes through the contact he creates. Smart had a blast dismantling Texas Tech Wednesday night at the Sprint Center, where he made 6 of 10 shots, scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished seven assists and feasted on the Tech backcourt with six steals.

The Cowboys will go as far as Smart and Brown can take them in the next few weeks, and their first legit postseason test comes today, against Kansas.

Smart's season averages: 17.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.7 steals.

Markel Brown, No. 22

6-3, 190, sr. guard

Kansas players Joel Embiid and Jamari Traylor watch as Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown comes down from a dunk during the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas players Joel Embiid and Jamari Traylor watch as Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown comes down from a dunk during the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 15 points, 5/13 FGs, 5/9 3s, 0/0 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 5 fouls in 28 minutes.

— March 1 vs KU: 21 points, 4/7 FGs, 3/5 3s, 10/10 FTs, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers in 38 minutes.

The chemistry Brown has with Smart in the backcourt makes OSU's talented backcourt all the more difficult to handle. The two can make eye contact on the perimeter and the next thing you know, Brown is catching a lob above the rim for an alley-oop.

Brown will step on the floor today feeling good, because he went for 20 points and hit 3 of 6 3-pointers against Tech less than 24 hours earlier.

While Brown can burn you on the perimeter with his touch (38.6% on 3s), he will gladly drive by his man for a layup or slam, too.

He averages 17.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, plus 3.0 assists.

Le'Bryan Nash, No. 2

6-7, 235, jr. wing

Kansas guard Frank Mason tries to hook a pass around Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash during the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Frank Mason tries to hook a pass around Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash during the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 10 points, 5/11 FGs, 0/2 FTs, 5 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls in 22 minutes.

— March 1 vs KU: 16 points, 6/9 FGs, 4/5 FTs, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks, 2 turnovers in 33 minutes.

Le'Bryan "Slash" took a back seat to Smart and Brown most of the Big 12 Tournament opener, but still produced 10 points — mainly by getting to the foul line, where he went 6 of 7.

Like Smart and Brown, Nash is too quick and strong for many perimeter defenders to deal with. He averages 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds, and makes 52.5% of his shots.

Phil Forte, No. 13

5-11, 185, so. guard

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe hoists a three over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte during the first half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe hoists a three over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte during the first half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 23 points, 7/11 FGs, 7/10 3s, 2/2 FTs, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers in 30 minutes.

— March 1 vs KU: 2 points, 1/6 FGs, 0/4 3s, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 39 minutes.

It's almost bizarre to think OSU defeated Kansas in Stillwater with Forte going 0-for-the-game from 3-point range and only scoring two points.

It appeared the sophomore sniper might end up having a similar night against Tech on Wednesday. Forte didn't hit a shot until the 15:43 mark of the second half. Not that it mattered. The sophomore guard's 91st three-pointer of the season put Tech's deficit at 51-32. And he went on to score 14 points on 4 of 9 3-point shooting.

The kind of 3-point marksman Kansas hopes Conner Frankamp can become, Forte has made 94 3-pointers this season on 208 attempts (45.2%). Seventy-six percent of his shots come from behind the arc.

Kamari Murphy, No. 21

6-8, 220, so. post

Kansas center Joel Embiid and Oklahoma State forward Kamari Murphy tangle for position during the first half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas center Joel Embiid and Oklahoma State forward Kamari Murphy tangle for position during the first half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 12 points, 5/10 FGs, 2/2 FTs, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 fouls, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 blocks in 38 minutes.

— March 1 vs KU: 8 points, 3/8 FGs, 2/2 FTs, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover and 5 fouls in 30 minutes.

Even with Embiid playing, Murphy enjoyed more success against Kansas than he has, on average, this season.

If KU help defenders come over to cut off drives by Smart, Brown and Nash, Murphy figures to benefit with open looks at the rim.

He averages 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds this season, and leads OSU with 40 blocked shots (five more than Brown).

Murphy only scored two points and had one rebound against Tech, and he picked up four fouls in 14 minutes.

OSU bench

Brian Williams, No. 4

6-5, 210, jr. wing

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 2 points, 1/5 FGs, 0/1 3s, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal in 21 minutes.

— March 1 vs KU: 4 points, 1/2 FGs, 2/2 FTs, 3 steals and 1 turnover in 11 minutes.

Williams scored five of his six points against Tech in the first half, and went 4 for 5 at the foul line in OSU's easy win.

On the year, he averages 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds.

Note: Fellow backup Leyton Hammonds gave OSU its first points of the game Wednesday night against Texas Tech, with a 3-pointer, after the Pokes fell behind, 8-0, prior to the first media timeout. Hamonds had gone scoreless in OSU's three previous games in limited minutes.

Reply 7 comments from Kurt Eskilson Rodney Crain Robert  Brock Chad Sandwell Carnahan Surrealku Kye Clark

Getting reacquainted with Oklahoma State

Game officials break up a skirmish between the Kansas and Oklahoma State players during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Game officials break up a skirmish between the Kansas and Oklahoma State players during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

You thought things got intense the last time Kansas University's men's basketball team played against Oklahoma State? Just wait until Saturday night.

What a way to kick off the month of March. The Cowboys (18-10 overall, 6-9 Big 12) have not lived up to their potential this season — they struggled even before Marcus Smart got suspended for his altercation with a Texas Tech fan — and this ESPN College Game Day matchup doesn't have the ramifications most thought it would before the season began. Still, you won't find a much more dangerous bubble team in the nation right now than OSU. Time is running out for the Cowboys to prove they belong in the NCAA Tournament (despite losing seven straight games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 17), and nothing would solidify their spot in The Big Dance more than beating No. 5 Kansas (22-6, 13-2).

Gallagher-Iba Arena figures to shake with noise as long as Oklahoma State can stick around with Kansas, and the Cowboys have enough talent in their backcourt to beat any team in the country.

Since Smart's return to the lineup, OSU has blown out the two teams at the bottom of the Big 12 standings, Texas Tech and TCU.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpjrP00XSWE

Even though the Cowboys have lost 10 times, eight of those were by two possessions or less, including two overtime losses: 3OT vs. Iowa State and OT at Baylor. Four losses were in one-possession games.

Since Travis Ford took over at Oklahoma State in 2008-09, the Cowboys are 9-10 at home against Top 25 teams. One of those victories came in November vs. Memphis. But the Cowboys are only 2-4 against ranked opponents overall this season.

For the Cowboys to earn the kind of hey-look-at-us victory that has eluded them to date, they will need significant production from their top four leading scorers. So let's get reacquainted with Smart and his highly skilled allies, who would like to keep the Jayhawks from winning the Big 12 outright today in Stillwater, Okla.

Marcus Smart, No. 33

6-4, 220, so. guard

Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart goes to the bucket against Kansas defenders Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins (22) late in the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart goes to the bucket against Kansas defenders Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins (22) late in the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 16 points, 3/14 FGs, 0/6 3s, 10/10 FTs, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals, 3 turnovers in 39 minutes.

One assist shy of a triple-double in OSU's two-point loss at Kansas, the troubled soon-to-be NBA lottery pick put up a great stat line despite missing 11 of his 14 shots.

Smart is strong in every facet of the game. In his two appearances since serving his three-game suspension, he has delivered 16.5 points, 8.5 assists, 5.5 steals and 5.5 rebounds.

On the season, the bull of a point guard averages 17.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and shoots 42.1% from the floor — but only 29.3% from 3-point range (39 of 133).

Markel Brown, No. 22

6-3, 190, sr. guard

Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown (22) walks off the court after his second technical with teammate Marcus Smart during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown (22) walks off the court after his second technical with teammate Marcus Smart during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 15 points, 5/13 FGs, 5/9 3s, 0/0 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 5 fouls in 28 minutes.

Two technical fouls limited Brown's productivity in OSU's loss at Kansas. And he still made five 3-pointers.

The high-flying shooting guard averages 16.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, makes 47% of his shots and 36.7% of his 3-pointers (44 of 120).

Brown is the first player in OSU history to record career numbers of 250 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks. And he is only the second Cowboy in the program's record books to get to 500 career rebounds (Brown has 555) playing under the height of 6-4. The other was Randy Rutherford.

Le'Bryan Nash, No. 2

6-7, 235, jr. wing

Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash loses the ball before Kansas defenders Frank Mason (0) and Wayne Selden on the final possession as time expires during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash loses the ball before Kansas defenders Frank Mason (0) and Wayne Selden on the final possession as time expires during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 10 points, 5/11 FGs, 0/2 FTs, 5 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls in 22 minutes.

Not that long-range daggers are his specialty, but Nash had a chance to defeat Kansas with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Allen Fieldhouse in January. However, on the Cowboys' final possession, he was stripped by Frank Mason (see above photo).

A slashing junior forward, Nash has never scored more than 11 points against Kansas in four career games.

This season, Nash averages 14.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. He's a 52.7% shooter, but doesn't have to be worried about behind the arc, where he has missed all six of his attempts.

Phil Forte, No. 13

5-11, 185, so. guard

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe puts up a three over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte with seconds remaining in the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. Tharpe hit the three to widen the Jayhawks' lead.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe puts up a three over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte with seconds remaining in the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. Tharpe hit the three to widen the Jayhawks' lead. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 23 points, 7/11 FGs, 7/10 3s, 2/2 FTs, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers in 30 minutes.

A sub the first time these two teams met, one of the most dangerous 3-point shooters in the country can burn opponents from the opening tip now that he's a starter.

Forte averages 13.3 points, 1.3 assists, converts 45.5% field goals and is slightly better from long range, making 45.8% of his 3-pointers.

The 5-11 guard makes 3.1 3-pointers a game in Big 12 action. He torched Kansas for seven the first time around. He's coming off a 5-for-10 performance at TCU, and he made all six of his 3's at Oklahoma in January.

In 86 tries at the free-throw line this season, Forte has only missed nine times. His 89.5% success rate leads the Big 12.

Kamari Murphy, No. 21

6-8, 220, so. post

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Brannen Greene (14) position for a rebound against Oklahoma State's Kamari Murphy (21) in the Jayhawks 80-78 win over Oklahoma State Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Brannen Greene (14) position for a rebound against Oklahoma State's Kamari Murphy (21) in the Jayhawks 80-78 win over Oklahoma State Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. by Mike Yoder

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 12 points, 5/10 FGs, 2/2 FTs, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 fouls, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 blocks in 38 minutes.

Essentially the lone post player for OSU, the 6-8 forward only had 1 rebound in 38 minutes at KU, back in January.

Murphy averages 6.4 boards this season and surely will make a larger impact in Stillwater. In his last five games, he's averaging 9.8 rebounds to go with 7.2 points.

About 31 percent of his rebounds this season come on the offensive glass, and he makes 57% of his shot attempts — all of which are 2-pointers.

OSU bench

Brian Williams, No. 4

6-5, 210, jr. wing

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins is fouled as he drives around Oklahoma State defender Brian Williams during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins is fouled as he drives around Oklahoma State defender Brian Williams during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 18 vs. KU: 2 points, 1/5 FGs, 0/1 3s, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal in 21 minutes.

Earlier in the season, Williams started for Ford, but that's no longer the case.

He averages 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds. While Williams has made 48.6% of his shots overall, he hits just 27.3% of his 3-pointers and doesn't take them too often (3 for 11).

After scoring a season-high 15 points against Iowa State, Williams has gone scoreless in three of his last six outings and hasn't played more than 12 minutes since being moved to the bench.

Reply 4 comments from Rodney Crain Zabudda Steve Corder

Bill Self meets the press, talks Oklahoma State

Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self fielded questions from the media for about 30 minutes Thursday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

The No. 5 Jayhawks (22-6 overall, 11-2 Big 12) play at Oklahoma State (18-10, 6-9) at 8 p.m. Saturday night. Self commented on that game and much more, including the rise of Wichita State to national prominence and whether the Jayhawks could add the Shockers to their schedule.

Here are the highlights in bullet-point form:

• Winning the Big 12 outright is a small part of the motivation on Saturday. The big part is playing an Oklahoma State team Kansas has developed a little rivalry with lately, as well as playing on a national showcase in prime time on ESPN.

• Oklahoma State is different now that Marcus Smart is back. He can impact a game and not score. His defensive anticipation is as good as anyone who KU will play against, and not just this year. Smart has totally dominated the games since serving his suspension.

• OSU is playing better because Phil Forte is playing better. He thrives when Smart is on the floor. They're kind of like the Morris twins in the way they feed off of one another. You can't leave Forte open. That's what makes him hard to guard.

• Self thought this game at OSU would have conference title implications, as far as who would have the best shot to win it. It's nice to go down there with a tie already clinched, but the Jayhawks want to take care of business. KU needs to play well to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

• On Tarik Black and Jamari Traylor: They're a big part of why KU is better. They provide a needed energy presence, and give the Jayhawks a different look than the starting frontcourt players, Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis.

• Kansas isn't in competing with Wichita State for a No. 1 seed, despite the arguments media or people want to have about it. Self thinks WSU deserves the No. 1 seed line if the Shockers keep on winning. It's hard to win on the road, especially when you're everybody's Super Bowl game. … Self isn't in the least bit concerned with anything but the teams on KU's schedule. The Jayhawks have a long way to go before they will be a No. 1 seed. It all depends on how they finish the season.

• Wichita State's success is great for the state. Iron sharpens iron. When others are good in your area, it makes you better. It's good for Kansas to have Wichita State and Kansas State playing well.

• On returning to Oklahoma State, where he played in college: The first time he coached KU down there, Self toured every place and talked with a lot of good friends. KU got rocked in that game. Now he approaches it as a business trip.

• Going into the NCAAs, you start thinking more about seeding and the tournament itself. It's too premature to give much thought to those things now.

• Kansas keeps making the NCAA Tournament despite turnover in the roster. That's because the players are good and the assistant coaches are good. Those are the constants, the jobs those assistants have done. KU has brought in talent and has been able to overcome inexperience.

• On the Big 12 player of the year coming from KU: Self would like to see Embiid as a candidate but numbers tend to drive that award and people might not include him despite the impact he has on the floor. Andrew Wiggins is a leading contender. People should wait to draw their conclusions until the Big 12 season is over.

• On KU assistant coaches: Self thought Barry Hinson was positive, but Fred Quartlebaum (director of student-athlete development in his first year at Kansas) makes Hinson look like a the sky is falling and the sun will never come up personality. Jerrance Howard is a younger coach, has more energy and fun to him than Self and Kurtis Townsend. One thing you can't undersell is having someone who has been in the fire. Norm Roberts was a head coach in New York for St. John's. KU has a nice blend on its staff, and has for a while. Different personalities on the staff offset each other, and that's a good thing.

• On highly-ranked recruits: The key with Kansas has been evaluating and projecting what they could become. You can look at players who are ranked in the top five or 10 and you know they will have a huge impact. But there isn't much difference between 11 and 50. Those recruiting services, though Self appreciates them, are overrated. KU coaches have done a good job of plugging in guys that fit the program.

• Wayne Selden is getting it. Embiid and Wiggins deserve the majority of the attention, but if KU didn't have those two, Selden would be a guy that would be in consideration for freshman of the year in the Big 12.

• Naadir Tharpe has given KU point guard play that has allowed the Jayhawks to do well in the Big 12. He has gotten better, but one area where he can get better is on the defensive end.

• Wiggins has learned to impact the game with his athletic ability. People line up and what to get a piece of him, because he got so much attention. He has had the best season of any player on the team to this point. Wiggins has been the most consistent. That's pretty good when you don't have upperclassmen to show you how to do it, plus all the expectations on him. He has been himself and not tried to be what he's not. No disrespect to Embiid, but it's easier when there is less pressure. Now Embiid is feeling the way Wiggins has all season.

Wiggins is so nice. He might be the most polite kid KU has ever had. Nice is OK, except for two and a half hours a day. Wiggins couldn't have handled it better with all the hype. He just plays. Some of the things that are said about him register for him and motivate him.

• Oklahoma State is capable of beating anybody, particularly when they're playing at home. OSU is right at the top of the Big 12 in terms of raw talent.

• Self wouldn't say Kansas would never play Wichita State. KU is pretty locked in schedule wise, and that wouldn't be a part of what they have planned right now. KU will schedule strictly on what the program thinks is best. It might be better for KU to play out in New York or Los Angeles or Philadelphia. You want to do what's best for the program. When Self was at Illinois, the program had a presence in a lot of metropolitan areas because they were in the Big 10. It doesn't hurt now that he's at KU to be able to go play at Georgetown or another major city.

• Self thought against Texas Kansas was at the level it needs to be defensively. They didn't carry that over to the Oklahoma game. Kansas needs to make other teams play poorly. That's what got the Jayhawks to the title game in 2012.

• Re-focusing after clinching a share of the Big 12 title. Whenever you win your league, that's a good year. But good years aren't good enough. The whole focus now is what are they going to give to make good become great, and can they become special. It's hard to take those steps. If they're not motivated by that, then there is a problem.

• As the road team for a College Game day game: It's not too different from another road game. Except when guys are laying around watching TV, there will be a lot of talk about the game, which should get the Jayhawks amped up.

• Self's parting shot: "This may have been the longest press conference I've ever done."

— Hear the complete press conference by clicking here: Bill Self discusses what lies ahead for KU

— Listen to a Q & A with guard Wayne Selden: Wayne Selden discusses learning as a freshman, the Big 12 title

Reply 2 comments from Erich Hartmann Asad Zoberi

Smart, Brown, Nash lead potent OSU offense

No one reading this blog has forgotten what happened the last time Oklahoma State played at Kansas.

The Cowboys prevailed, 85-80, and Marcus Smart performed a backflip after OSU won at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since 1989.

Saturday afternoon, No. 9 Oklahoma State (15-2 overall, 3-1 Big 12) will attempt to knock off No. 15 Kansas (12-4, 3-0) on its home floor again, rather than wait another 24 years.

Coach Travis Ford's Cowboys have won three straight games since falling, 74-71, at Kansas State, and the Jayhawks will be the fourth ranked team they've played this season. In the non-conference, OSU split two games with Memphis and beat Colorado.

Oklahoma State's strength of schedule (40th) isn't close to Kansas (1st), but the Cowboys lead the Big 12, as well as the nation, in scoring margin at plus-20.2 a game, and put up 84.8 points an outing, compared to 78.9 for KU.

Now it's time to meet the guys that make Oklahoma State explosive.

Marcus Smart, No. 33

6-4, 220, so. guard

One of four regional covers for Sports Illustrated's 2013-14 college basketball preview issue, the Big 12 version features Kansas University freshman Wayne Selden and Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart.

One of four regional covers for Sports Illustrated's 2013-14 college basketball preview issue, the Big 12 version features Kansas University freshman Wayne Selden and Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart.

A unanimous Associated Press pre-season All-American, Smart averages 17.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists, while shooting 46.3 percent from the field. And because he is stronger than most of the guards trying to check him, as well as some of the larger players who slide over to help, he gets to the foul line regularly. Smart has converted 87 of his 123 free throws — both team highs.

If you ever want a thorough scouting report video on an NBA prospect, look no farther than DraftExpress.com's YouTube channel.

There's a great one there on Smart (posted below). Ignore the stats, because the video was created in the off-season, but the highlights begin at the 1:50 mark and show off the beast of a point guard's wide array of skills, including a series of post-ups in which he shows better footwork than most big men in the country.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grjkPue0ZL0

Or — if you prefer a (relatively) more condensed Smart highlight reel — watch him torch Memphis for a career high 39 points earlier this season.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxXictCDDqA

Smart opened his barrage with a filthy spin move in transition, before offering up a step-back three, a post-up in the paint, a fast-break throw-down and a dunk via alley-oop, to name a few of his most impressive offensive plays.

Basically, Smart does everything the Cowboys need him to do, as you can read in a John Helsley piece for NewsOK.com, which came in the wake of Smart's 22-point, 13-rebound, five-assist night at West Virginia on Jan. 11:

The best way he can make the Cowboys better right now is by being the best player on the floor, which he's doing, with an added bonus of playing big, not just figuratively but literally. Against Texas, Smart posted a staggering stat line: 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, six steals and a blocked shot. And zero turnovers. At West Virginia, it was more of the same. Smart scored seven of OSU's final 15 points and either scored or assisted on his team's final four buckets.

Smart plays with the strength of a power forward, the mentality of a sniper and is built sturdier than a number of NBA point guards.

Markel Brown, No. 22

6-3, 190, sr. guard

Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown goes up for a shot with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The shot missed and the rebound went to the Jayhawks.

Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown goes up for a shot with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The shot missed and the rebound went to the Jayhawks. by Nick Krug

Brown brings nearly as much offensive punch as Smart, adding 16.6 points, while pulling down 5.2 boards a game and dishing out 2.9 assists.

The OSU veteran scores efficiently, too, hitting 50 percent of his shots (93 of 186) and 79.2 percent of his free throws.

He's the Cowboys' third-best option from long range, as well. Brown drilled a three that held up as the game-winner when Oklahoma State's trip to West Virginia came down to the wire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lePwzcNSGTk

As if that weren't enough, the guy can sky. Known for putting on slam dunk shows, Brown compiled a list of his top 10 dunks for NewsOK.com.

His No. 1 favorite came a couple years ago against Missouri — remember those guys? — and Brown actually earned a technical on the play, his second of that game, which led to his ejection. Apparently it was too nasty to drop on the list, despite the repercussion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h4u7wGM630

NewsOK.com dubbed Brown: "mayor of LobStilly."

Here's what the living myth of a dunk artist had to say about his vertical ferociousness:

“When I do one of those dunks, immediately I get tweets saying, ‘Markel's going to be on SportsCenter.' Things like that. I like doing those type of dunks. It's exciting. It gets the crowd pumped up. It gets my teammates some hype."

Le'Bryan Nash, No. 2

6-7, 235, jr. wing

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot from Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot from Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Nash has the potential to play just as lethal a brand of basketball as Smart and Brown. But he still hasn't found that consistency that would make Oklahoma State even more trouble for its opponents.

Nash averages 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds this season and has made 52.3 percent of his shots, but check out his scoring totals from his previous five games: nine vs. Robert Morris, 20 at Kansas State, 2 vs. Texas, 18 at West Virginia and 13 vs. TCU.

Like Smart and Brown, Nash is at his best when he's attacking, and he gets to the foul line, where he is a 70.5-percent shooter, averaging 5.6 freebie attempts a game.

Brian Williams, No. 4

6-5, 210, jr. wing

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives against Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams during the first overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives against Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams during the first overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

The most likely player to score outside of Oklahoma State's top four (the Cowboys' fourth-best offensive option comes off the bench, and we'll get to him in a moment). Williams averages 8.4 points and isn't great at any one thing, outside of scoring efficiently.

Williams has only hoisted 10 three-pointers, so much of his job duties come near or in the paint. He has made 52 of 93 shots and 36 of 47 free throws.

Plus, ball-handlers beware: Williams has swiped at least two steals seven times this season.

Kamari Murphy, No. 21

6-8, 220, so. post

Oklahoma State post Kamari Murphy blocks a Memphis shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.  (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Oklahoma State post Kamari Murphy blocks a Memphis shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt) by BRODY SCHMIDT

When he gets a touch in the paint, odds are the ball is going through the hoop. Murphy has made 60 percent of his field goals this season.

He has only started four games to date, but Murphy has made 39 of his 65 shot attempts, and averages 5.9 points and 5.9 rebounds (tied with Nash for the team lead).

The young big man gets a lot of those when the Cowboys have the ball, and Murphy leads OSU with 32 offensive boards this season.

If there is a situation late in the game in which Kansas needs to foul someone from OSU, Bill Self and his staff will target Murphy if he's on the floor. While a nice role player, his one problem area is the free-throw stripe, where he has missed more than he has made: 16-for-35 (45.7 percent).

His 23 blocked shots are a team best.

OSU bench

Phil Forte, No. 13

5-11, 185, so. guard

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe puts a floater over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte to give the Jayhawks the advantage with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe puts a floater over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte to give the Jayhawks the advantage with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

The deadeye shooter's 46 three-pointers and 47.9-percent accuracy from deep lead the Cowboys.

Forte hops off the bench and starts killing his opponents from deep, averaging 12.0 points and 2.7 made threes a game.

Plus, when he goes to the foul line, he's the best in the Big 12, at 90.2 percent.

Stevie Clark, No. 5

5-11, 175, fr. guard

A lot of times this season, Clark has been the guy leading off an OSU highlight on SportsCenter. He's the one placing the ball perfectly near the rim for Brown or Smart to flush.

Clark averages 3.3 assists a game, with a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

He only scores 6.0 points a game, has hit 16 of 36 from three-point land, and only attempted 13 shots inside the arc, making three of those (23 percent).

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