Each week for the rest of the season, we’re going to break down stats for OSU and try to see what they tell us about the season.
Before we get into specifics, let’s take a broad look at what Underwood’s squad is doing well and... not so well.
Through 15 games, Oklahoma State is in the Top 10 in the country in four stats.
You can add to that; the Cowboys +4.5 turnover margin is 16th best and their 430 free-throws attempted is the 18th most in D1. That’s six top 20 stats. Those are impressive numbers, the likes of which we haven’t seen in Stillwater in some time. The offense is fast paced and exciting, and there are promising young players contributing off the bench and contributing.
Now, a lot of Oklahoma State’s great offensive numbers came against the dredge of the schedule. You’ll notice one thing about the Cowboys win/lose column: They’ve only won one game when scoring less than 90 points. That was in Tulsa when they won 71-67.
When OSU wins, it’s averaging 97.5 points a game. In it’s four losses, OSU is averaging 74.8 points. That’s a 22.7 point difference. That’s a BIG difference. So far this season, OSU needs to score close to 100 to win. As you will see, that’s because the team’s defense isn’t going to get it done.
OSU is a bad defensive team. They finish in the bottom third in four important numbers:
Those are not good numbers, especially considering the Cowboys points-per-game continues to drop every week.
The opponent scoring looks bad. It’s worse in Big 12 play at 78.3 points a game. That’s after they held Baylor to 61 points on Saturday, which sounds good until you realize that the Bears are not an offensive juggernaut. They’ve scored 80 or more points five times this season.
Then there’s the turnovers. Yes, OSU forces nearly 19 turnovers a game. But when you give it back nearly 15 times a game, that advantage is neutralized.
Those are all bad, but there’s one stat that is absolutely killing OSU.
The biggest problem for OSU this season?
Oklahoma State is currently ranked second to last in Division one with 24.8 personal fouls a game. That’s 346th out of 347 teams.
Remember how Oklahoma State has attempted the 18th most free throws this season? That number is 430. That would be great, except OSU’s opponents have shot a combined 437.
Fans can get mad about calls not going OSU’s way all day, but the trend says the fault doesn’t lie with the zebras. It lies with the players.
There are plenty of games to go, and as was pointed out yesterday, the Big 12 is so good that OSU has plenty of opportunities for quality wins. Plus, this is a young team that’s doing some things very well. That’s good news for this year and the future. While it may not be the "win now" that Oklahoma State fans were hoping for, they have to remember, this is Brad Underwood's first year. The expectations coming out of the non-conference were sky high, but if you look past that beginning, you see a coach in his first year doing pretty well with a team he mostly inherited. It may suck this year, but I see this program going nowhere but up in the coming years.