Well, Mizzou has lost three in a row on the road, so there is one trend in the Pokes favor. Everything else probably points to a loss. If I am looking for something in this game, it is a continuation of the experimentation with lineups, playing time, up-tempo offense, and pressure defense. I feel like there is a good team hidden somewhere in this mess of a half-season, and I am happy to see that Coach Ford is mixing it up. Maybe the Pokes will find something to close the season on a winning streak, maybe they can get to 7 or 8 wins and with some help sneak into the NCAA field, or maybe it will serve as a building block for next season.
Here are the experiments I would like to see:
- A lot of Markel Brown at PG. My new blogging friend at Pistols Firing (whom we have formed a nice blog-ship with) wrote a good piece about this earlier today, and I couldn't agree more with him. Put it on Markel's shoulders, see what he can do. I don't see any possible way our guard play could be worse, so why not?
- Try out some more lineups without 2 F/C down low. All season is has been a staple to have two of Marshall Moses, Darrell Williams, Matt Pilgrim, Jered Shaw, or Roger Franklin in at all times. I wouldn't mind seeing a little 4 guard lineup out there, especially facing the ol "40 (more like 29) minutes of hell" style of the Tigers.
- Up-tempo all the time. Keep pushing, take the pressure off of whoever is pretending to be our PG by running with Brown, Jean-Paul Olukemi, Williams, and even Pilgrim all getting a lot of touches in the open floor.
- Spread the floor, and try to give Moses some room inside. Is anyone else having a huge problem with our floor spacing this season? The poor three-point shooting is a huge contributor to this, but another factor is that our guards, wings, and rotating bigs love to have their toes on or inside of that three point line. There are plenty of times during a game where we have 2 guys in the paint, 2 inside of 15 feet, and whoever has the ball out at the top with no where to go. I would like to see a little more spread. Move everyone outside, stretch that zone, give Moses a chance to post up one-on-one.
Now on to more lists.
List #2 - Why Oklahoma State will lose:
- Missouri will play a lot of zone. And as we have seen all season, this leads to a lot of inside turnovers and outside shots (both bad things), and basically negates Marshall Moses as his sweet spot on the block will always be surrounded by 3 guys.
- Foul Trouble. Duh
- Mizzou can shoot the three. And last I looked, Oklahoma State was ranked 2,304th in the kenpom metric "leaving the opposing teams hottest outside shooters wide open all the fucking time".
- Depth. The Cowboys top 8 actually match up pretty well with Mizzou, the problem is that Missouri has 10 guys that average 12+ minutes per game, while the Pokes only have 8... and 2 of those 8 are Penn and Pilgrim who played 4 minutes combined in Lubbock. If the Pokes weren't probably going to have to play everyone, I would like our chances a little better.
List #3 - Why Oklahoma State will win:
- Playing at home. Still have only lost 1 home game this season, and there will be a weird crowd tonight with the open door, free admission, snow-gasm policy.
- Matchup pretty well with Mizzou's best scorers... except for Marcus Denmon. Unfortunately, Denmon is their best player and leading scorer, BUT outside of him, everyone else has a similar size/speed player to match up with.
Yes, I could only come up with 2 reasons Oklahoma State might win.