Five Questions: Oklahoma State

Editor’s Note: I asked @PistolsGuy (of Pistols Firing Blog) five questions about Oklahoma State. Pistols Guy is my go-to-guy for Oklahoma State news (which has been extremely helpful over the past few months now that KU and OSU are the cream of the crop of Big 12 basketball). He’s definitely worth a follow. 

RCB: It seems like the Big 12 schedule for Oklahoma State has started off a little tougher than you first anticipated (losing at KSU, squeaking by West Virginia). What has been the biggest change for this team from non-conference to conference play?

Pistols Guy: You mean besides Travis Ford having to coach in Big 12 road games? I kid (kind of) but really the non-conference schedule was kind of weak. tells me Memphis, Louisiana Tech, and Colorado were the strongest opponents they faced — that doesn’t exactly scream “you’re ready for a rugged 18-game Big 12 schedule!” to me.

RCB: How big of a distraction has Stevie Clark’s off-the-court issues been for this team? Are you surprised he’s even still on the team after being suspended once and then arrested a month afterwards?

Pistols Guy: It hasn’t been a distraction at all, actually. I’m a little surprised he’s still on the team — I joked the other day that Ford is in “oh crap, I actually have to make a Sweet 16 at some point” mode and he knows he can’t afford to lose Stevie. But also the offenses have been pretty minor.

I’m pretty sure you and I both know most of these dudes smoke weed so does him getting caught with make it different? At some point, yes, it does (and I wouldn’t bet $1 on Stevie finishing his career at OSU) but it’s not like he committed a felony (or has even been convicted of anything yet).

RCB: Michael Cobbins’ season-ending injury is another big blow. How has the team adjusted to losing Cobbins’ presence?

Pistols Guy: Not well. We play this dude from the Czech Republic who’s built like Phil Mickelson but is a little bit taller. It’s awful — the weakness of this team before Cobbins was an interior presence on offense and now it’s an interior presence on offense AND defense.I wrote a few weeks ago that OSU will be fine with the right draw in March because you can get by with Marcus/Markel but it’s going to be tough to win the Big 12 with only Kamari Murphy (who’s improved, by the way) and a bunch of stiff in the paint.

RCB: Is there a scenario on Saturday where Andrew Wiggins and Marcus Smart come away from the game becoming best friends after all the offseason drama about the Sports Illustrated cover and the pre-season hype about both players?

Haha, I’m not sure that scenario exists. I’m sure they’ll have a chuckle at the 2021 All-Star game in Seattle but for now, not boys.

RCB: What do you see happening on Saturday? What’s the key to Oklahoma State winning for a second year in a row in Allen Fieldhouse? Will Marcus Smart do another back flip if OSU wins? What defensive matchup are you most excited to see? What’s your final score prediction?

I think Kansas wins a close game. All signs point to a rout but I just don’t think Marcus and Markel are going to let that happen. OSU is going to have to repeat its performance from the three-point line to get another AFH win and I just don’t see that happening.

I think the Markel-Wiggins matchup will be terrific. Wiggins has more raw talent (obviously) but Markel understands how college basketball works better. I hope they guard each other for long stretches, I think that would be great.

Maybe this year Marcus will eschew the backflip and just start making out with Bill Self’s wife if OSU wins again..?

Kansas 79 — OSU 74