OKLAHOMA STATE BASKETBALL GAMETHREAD: Cowboys, Cowgirls face big games

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys have a season to save, and the Cowgirls will attempt to avenge the men's recent Bedlam loss while continuing the best regular season ever for OSU's women's basketball.

Thanks heavens I have a DVR with dual tuners.

The Cowboys get Baylor in GIA at 2pm Eastern on ESPN.

The Cowgirls travel to Norman for a 3pm Eastern Bedlam tilt on Fox College Sports Central (FCSC). You should check you local listings in Oklahoma.

The two games couldn't possess more opposite energy.

Coach Jim Littell is guiding the Cowgirls through their most successful regular season EVER. Never has OSU women's basketball team been this deep in a season with so few losses. They've never been 4-0 on the road in conference play, and they're doing it with the leadership of two seniors, one of the top two Cowgirl PG's ever, and a cast of youngsters led by Brittany Martin and Ro Johnson.

For comparison, here are all the seasons 2001, including the one in progress...

OVERALL END OF JAN BIG 12 END OF JAN FINISHED
YEAR W L W L W L W L W L END OF SEASON
2013-14 18 2 18 2 7 2 7 2 ????????
2012-13 22 11 15 4 9 9 4 4 5 5 Lost to Duke in 2nd Rd of NCAA
2011-12 22 12 12 5 8 10 4 4 4 6 WNIT Champions
2010-11 17 15 13 5 4 12 1 5 3 7 Lost to Wyoming in 2nd Rd of WNIT
2009-10 24 11 18 3 9 7 6 1 3 6 Lost to Georgia in 2nd Rd of NCAA
2008-09 17 16 14 5 4 12 3 3 1 9 Lost to Ark in 2nd Rd of WNIT
2007-08 27 8 16 3 11 5 4 2 7 3 Lost to LSU in NCAA Sweet 16
2006-07 20 11 15 14 8 8 3 5 5 3 Lost to Bowling Gr in 1st Rd of NCAA
2005-06 6 22 6 11 0 16 0 9 0 7
2004-05 6 20 6 11 2 14 1 6 1 8
2003-04 8 20 8 12 3 13 3 5 0 8
2002-03 8 21 5 10 3 13 1 5 2 8
2001-02 16 15 11 9 7 9 3 5 4 4

The stat that sticks out for the Cowgirls? Since 2001, they've only posted a winning record twice after January. From 2001-02 thru 2012-13, only 3 times did OSU avoid 4 or more consecutive losses in conference play after January, but one of those was last season. In fact, last season was the first without a losing record after January since 2007-08.

This has been a remarkable season so far, but what happens from here on out will be the difference, and historically the Cowgirls have struggled. Let's hope this year will continue to be special.

As for the men's team, well, things are on the other end of the spectrum. Expectations were so high (maybe too high?) as the season began, and everything was rolling along fine (the one loss could be blamed on Clark's absence) until Michael Cobbins went down with the Achilles injury, which coincided with the start of Big 12 play.

Since then OSU has struggled and hasn't looked solid, even in their wins. With the exception of the win against West Virginia in GIA, foul trouble has neutralized Le'Bryan Nash. Marcus Smart has suffered a meltdown of impressive proportions, and everyone is wondering if Gary Gaskins is a ficticious character. If not for a career night by Nash and some otherworldly 3pt shooting by Forte, this season would already be in the tank.

Still, it feels like the Cowboys are teetering on the edge, one or two bad losses away from a free fall of epic proportions.

Baylor is the first step...Iowa State comes next...and fans are not confident that either game is a sure thing. In OSU's Bedlam loss last Monday, Christian Sager logged more minutes (18) than Nash (17), and more than Clark and Hammonds combined (11-3).

Here are some stats courtesy of Okstate.com comparing overall averages with conference only numbers:

PLAYER Min/G FG% 3PT% FT% R/G A/G S/G B/K PTS/G
Marcus Smart all gms 30.0 43.0% 30.5% 71.6% 5.7 4.4 2.5 0.6 17.3
conf 31.6 36.7% 26.3% 74.6% 8.1 4.9 2.1 0.4 17.6
Markel Brown all gms 32.7 48.0% 33.8% 77.8% 5.5 2.8 0.7 1.2 16.6
conf 34.7 43.5% 27.3% 73.9% 7.0 2.1 0.3 1.3 16.7
Le'Bryan Nash all gms 27.2 53.6% 0.0% 69.6% 5.9 1.4 0.6 0.9 13.8
conf 27.9 49.3% 0.0% 63.4% 5.6 1.1 0.4 0.6 14.3
Phil Forte all gms 22.8 46.8% 49.6% 91.8% 1.6 1.1 0.9 0.0 13.0
conf 26.1 46.2% 51.0% 94.1% 1.9 1.1 1.4 0.0 14.4
Brian Williams all gms 25.3 52.8% 27.3% 76.0% 4.0 1.0 1.1 0.5 7.8
conf 24.7 41.2% 50.0% 66.7% 4.3 0.9 0.7 0.1 5.3
Kamari Murphy all gms 23.6 54.8% 0.0% 48.6% 5.6 0.8 0.6 1.5 5.8
conf 29.4 41.7% 0.0% 58.3% 4.7 0.7 1.1 1.9 5.3
Stevie Clark all gms 16.3 40.7% 42.9% 64.3% 1.5 2.8 1.0 0.1 5.6
conf 16.0 46.7% 40.0% 50.0% 1.0 1.5 0.7 0.0 3.5
Lleyton Hammonds all gms 6.7 21.4% 14.3% 50.0% 1.2 0.2 0.4 0.1 1.0
conf 4.2 14.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.3

There's just a whole lot of "not good" in these numbers.

You would expect some of the drop in production as the level of competition increases with conference play, but it's troubling to see the "extra" guys' production go down. Kamari Murphy's minutes jumped up, but his shooting % and scoring have gone down. You would have expected Stevie Clark and Lleyton Hammonds to get increased minutes, but that has not been the case. Clark's situation is even more puzzling, as he shoots well enough to impact the game as a bench player.

The lone bright spot has been Forte, who has maintained or increased his numbers across the board with more minutes.

Makes me begin to wonder who the most valuable player on the team really is......

Cowgirls on the verge of something special?

Cowboys at the crossroads?

Should be in interesting day to say the least.

Join us on Twitter and in the comments below to discuss.

GO POKES & POKETTES!!!

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