The Cowboys start Big 12 play on the road today in Manhattan. This would have appeared to be a fairly simple road trip with OSU sporting a deep and solid rotation.
Then, in a matter of a few days, 2 of the key players in that rotation went bye bye.
Cobbins was lost to a season ending achilles tear.
Clark appears to have been lost to poor judgement.
While Stevie's status has yet to be determined, I would be shocked if it wasn't at least 6 games, possibly the season.
Either way, one stat shows what the loss of those two players will mean....
In 2012-13 season Smart, Brown, and Nash all averaged over 30 minutes a game, with Brown leading the way with 34 per game.
This season only Brown is above 30 minutes per game (31.5), but is almost 3 minutes less than last year.
You might think that is due to more guys getting minutes, which is actually not the case. Same as last season, OSU has 8 players averaging 15+ minutes per game. The big difference? Distribution of those minutes.
2012-13 saw 3 players over 30 minutes (see above)...two players over 25 minutes (Cobbins, Forte)...and 3 players over 15 minutes (Murphy, Jurick, Williams - his didn't come until near the end of the season). This season has 1 player over 30 (Brown)...3 at 25+ (Smart, Nash, Williams)...2 at 20+ (Murphy, Forte)...2 at 16+ (Cobbins, Clark). That last group means 32 minutes of playing time must now be redistributed among other players. Cobbins time can be somewhat absorbed by Soucek/Gaskins, but Clark's time is irreplaceable, and it's more than just the minutes.
Point production is also at issue.
Last season the Cowboys had 4 players avg double figures (Smart/Brown 15 each, Nash 14, Forte 10), but only one other player averaged 5+ points per game (Cobbins 7).
This season OSU again has those same 4 players leading the way in double digit points per game, literally in the same order. The difference here is there are now 3 other players averaging 6+ ppg (Williams, Murphy, Clark). Cobbins offensive production has gone down, but that's more because of the development of other options. Still, combine the total minutes lost (32) with the points (almost 12 ppg), and the loss of Cobbins and Clark becomes pretty significant. Add to that the additional wear and tear on Smart and Brown (no b/u at PG, so additional minutes will be carried by these two), and we have the makings of what happened last season with Smart and Brown running out of gas at the end of the season. The impact on the middle may not be as significant, as that was not a strong area for the Cowboys to begin with. Cobbins is a pretty good shot blocker and has done a nice job beefing up his frame, but OSU is still undersized in the paint. Extra minutes may be asked of Nash if Ford decides to run him at the 5, more because of his frame than anything.
These first two conference games will be a good test to see how Ford's crew responds offensively. Clark brought outside shooting off the bench that had to be respected, opening up opportunities for Forte and others.
Kansas State in Manhattan...Texas in GIA. What once were REALLY high hopes have quickly been pulled back as we wait to see how the Cowboys respond.