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?
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.
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