Marcus Smart

Bubble Banter: Oklahoma State controls destiny with a tough road ahead

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There are 23 days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. 

You can see’s latest bracket here.

Oklahoma State (RPI: 49, KenPom: 27) may have left Marcus Smart’s jersey in Stillwater, but the Pokes left TCU with a win on Monday night.

Now, beating the Horned Frogs isn’t necessarily a cause for celebrating. They are one of the worst power conference teams in the country and could very likely finish the season without a Division I victory.

That said, the Pokes haven’t exactly been winning that much themselves of late, snapping a seven-game losing streak on Saturday when Marcus Smart returned from his three-game suspension. It’s the second straight win for Travis Ford’s club, and it puts them in a position where they can play their way in to or out of the NCAA tournament.

This is what their schedule looks like in the final three games: Kansas, Kansas State, at Iowa State. The Cowboys are one of the first five out of the bracket in Dave Ommen’s latest posting this morning, and that likely isn’t going to change after tonight. But winning two of the next three would certainly get the Cowboys over the hump.

That means they need to beat Kansas at home or Iowa State on the road. Neither are promising propositions, but when you lose seven straight games, having the chance to control your own destiny is a good thing.


Maryland (RPI: 71, KenPom: 48) pretty much killed their chance of getting an at-large bid with a loss to Syracuse at home on Monday night. We went more in depth here.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.