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Dear Travis Ford: It's Time to Start Chris Olivier

We've seen what Mitchell Solomon can do. We've seen what Anthony Allen can do. It's Chris Olivier's time to shine.

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma State Cowboys will most likely not be heading to the NCAA tournament this year. Sorry to break it to you. Blame the coaching all you want, but OSU just doesn't have the firepower to compete in the Big 12 this year. So what's the danger in letting graduate student Chris Olivier get the start? He's more than earned it.

Let's look at Olivier's competition over the last stretch of games. Mitchell Solomon has started the majority of the games, while Anthony Allen Jr. has seen his playing time diminished the last few weeks due to the surging Olivier. Solomon has scored 20 points total these last five games. He's committed 21 fouls in those last five games. Let that sink in. Allen has been no better recently. In fact, he's been worse. The last three games, Allen is averaging just four minutes of playing time, while scoring a mere two points total. It's time for a reality check; Solomon and Allen are not very good.

In Wednesday nights overtime loss to Texas Tech, Olivier had a solid night scoring 11 points with six rebounds. However, it was his 31 minutes of playing time that separated him from Solomon and Allen. Olivier has three straight games of playing at least 20 minutes, and expect that streak to continue the rest of the season. I can understand the hesitancy to have Olivier start. Solomon is by far the most experienced center the Cowboys have, and Allen is the only Cowboy at seven feet tall. But none of that should matter this year. Olivier is the only post player OSU can turn to on the offensive side of the floor, and the only post player OSU is getting any production out of. Period. His defense is questionable, and so is his ability to go to his right hand. Yet, he's still outperforming Solomon and Allen combined.

Oklahoma State needs to finish this season strong for momentum's sake heading into next year. Olivier has been providing a spark of the bench that ignites the offense. It's time to let the senior finish out his collegiate career in style. He's the best option OSU has and he's more than earned it.