Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
We have seen the "real" personality of this team, unfortunately Travis Ford only allows it to come out when they are down.
West Virginia had no answer. Neither did OU. We've seen it on a few other occasions, but never for prolonged periods of time.
Part of the reason is that it takes energy, and OSU isn't exactly 10 deep. Aggressive play can also lead to foul trouble, especially with Big 12 officials who went to the same lousy officiating clinics as their Pac 12 football brethren.
But I'm still confused.
Why wouldn't Coach Ford pull it out at various times, catching an opponent off guard?
Why wouldn't you start a game that way?
The Cowboys have experienced success just about any time they have gone to the 3/4 court trapping press.
The problem is that OSU doesn't employ it until pushed. Getting lit up in Norman? It didn't result in a win, but it got the Cowboys back in the game. Looking lost at home against West Virginia? The same game plan, plus the switch to a 2-3 zone, resulted in a 69-42 run and an 80-66 victory.
Everyone presumed OSU would come out aggressive against the young, inexperienced guards of the Sooners. Exactly the opposite happened.
West Virginia shoots horribly, yet we pushed out on the perimeter and allowed them to make plays in the paint.
In both cases it took double digit deficits to provoke Ford into employing anything that looked like a strategy to attack an opponent's weakness.
This team is athletic, yet Ford doesn't seem to know what to do to unleash the athleticism unless OSU is getting blasted. The half court sets are painful to watch and totally dependent on Brown AND Forte shooting well. Le'Bryan Nash cannot be counted on for offensive production and appears lost in anything but a 1-on-1 situation. Cobbins, Jurick, & Murphy are very inconsistent scorers at best. Smart is the only constant, throwing his usual 13-5-5-5 (or thereabouts) stat line.
I was very happy to see the turnaround against WVU, but before we start anointing that display as "pretty good basketball," let us not forget that the Mountaineers are not good. In fact they are only slightly better than Tech or A&M (I know, I know, they aren't in the Big 12 anymore). Forte and Brown accounted for 63% of the points. Add in Smart, and that jumps to 79%.
Earlier in the season, after struggling with UT-Arlington, OSU's coach lamented not getting the opportunity to view game tape of the opponent as part of the reason the Cowboys struggled a bit. Yet in the recent games mentioned above, it seems that ZERO scouting info came to bare on the respective game plans.
They need other people to contribute meaningful points on occasion. They need Brian Williams to not only reappear in the lineup, but contribute meaningful minutes.
But even more importantly, they need Travis Ford to start using his basketball IQ a little more wisely.