Tag: Markel Brown

Oklahoma State v Kansas

Does No. 8 Oklahoma State have an issue with foul trouble?

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Kansas is the best team in the Big 12. They are far and away the favorite to win the conference at this point in the season, and it’s not really debatable as they are currently sitting two games in front of everyone else in the league.

What’s surprising about that statement is that Oklahoma State isn’t actually involved in that conversation. Heading into the season, the expectation was that this league would be decided by the Pokes and the Jayhawks, and that it may come down to that final battle between the two on March 1st.

As we round the corner of January and head into February, the No. 8 Cowboys in a tie with Kansas State for fourth in the league, a full three games behind the Jayhawks, after Monday night’s 88-76 loss to No. 23 Oklahoma, and it’s quickly becoming clear that Travis Ford’s team is just another team fighting for second place.

As a result, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the Cowboys lost their tenth straight Bedlam road game.

Because that’s just the way that it works in this league this year.

For all intents and purposes, the difference between the five teams currently sitting within a game of second place — Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas State and Iowa State — is negligible. The respective rankings my throw you for a loop, but you should more or less expect Oklahoma to hold serve on their home court against Oklahoma State at this point, the same way you should expect Kansas State to lose at Iowa State or Texas to get dropped in Stillwater.

And vice versa.

For Oklahoma State, things are going to remain that way unless a couple of things change. Ironically enough, the biggest issue for this team isn’t the loss of Michael Cobbins. It hurts their depth inside, but Oklahoma State’s rebounding numbers are actually slightly better in Big 12 play than they were in non-conference play with Cobbins healthy.

What’s hurting the Pokes more than anything is foul trouble. On Monday, Le’Bryan Nash fouled out and Marcus Smart had four fouls. On Saturday, Nash and Smart both fouled out in the win over West Virginia. Last Saturday, in the loss at Kansas, Markel Brown fouled out and Nash had four fouls.

The issue isn’t just the disqualifications. It’s the fact that, when they’re in foul trouble, they sit the bench, taking themselves and the team out of a rhythm and, quite often, digging early holes.

Foul trouble isn’t the be-all and end-all of their issues — Smart and Brown settle for too many jumpers, they don’t get Nash enough touches on the block, too often their offense devolves into isolations — but it sure would help to have

POSTERIZED: Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown with the 360 (VIDEO)

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Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown didn’t have the best afternoon from a shooting standpoint, as he made just five of his 13 attempts from the field in the 11th-ranked Cowboys’ 81-75 home win over West Virginia. But he did provide the highlight of the game, throwing down a 360-degree dunk to tie the game at 48 with 13:58 remaining.

Brown finished the game with 15 points and ten rebounds, and while he and Marcus Smart (1-for-7 FG, four points) struggled offensively Le’Bryan Nash picked up the slack. Nash led five Cowboys in double figures with 29 points to go along with nine rebounds before fouling out late.

Did those technical fouls cost No. 9 Oklahoma State a win at No. 15 Kansas?

Oklahoma State v Kansas

It’s hard not to come away from No. 9 Oklahoma State’s 80-78 loss to No. 15 Kansas incredibly impressed with the way that the Jayhawks are progressing this season.

I wrote all about it here.

But it’s also difficult to watch that game and have anything other than respect for the Pokes.

Oklahoma State was down 14 points midway through the first half. They were down 17 points at the break. Marcus Smart didn’t make a field goal until there was 6:01 left in the game, and that came after the Pokes had cut that 17 point lead to three and seen the Jayhawks push it right back up to 11. And despite all of that, Oklahoma State still had the ball with 5.4 seconds left and a chance to either tie or win the game.

I’d say that’s a pretty impressive performance.

And it makes you wonder: what would’ve happened if Oklahoma State had been able to keep their composure throughout the game?

It started midway through the first half, when Markel Brown didn’t hear the whistle for a timeout and ran into Jamari Traylor, throwing out an elbow in the process and nearly providing the spark for an ugly, ugly scene in Phog Allen. Double technicals were given out for that little brouhaha. Two minutes later, after Smart went crashing to the ground on a drive to the basket, Stevie Clark picked up a technical for pushing Wayne Selden, who was straddling Smart on the ground. Le’Bryan Nash came dangerously close to picking up a technical, which would have been his fifth foul, about three minutes before Brown picked up his second technical foul arguing a call.

Stating the obvious: take away the foul shots that Kansas made after those technicals and Oklahoma State wins.

I know, it doesn’t actually work that way.

But you have to think head coach Travis Ford would have loved to have Brown on the floor on the final possession, when Nash was unable to get off a final shot. Or maybe have him on the court for that second-to-last possession, when Oklahoma State ran 30 seconds off the clock before Phil Forte his a three with 7.8 seconds remaining. Maybe his presence on the floor defensively helps the Pokes get an extra stop.

Oklahoma State cannot let their emotions get the best of them.

Losing Michael Cobbins made an already-thin front line that much more of a liability. They no longer have that margin for error.