March Preview: Oklahoma State Cowboys

It seems like the last time we were talking about Oklahoma State it was involving Marcus Smart leading the Cowboys. 3 years later and this is a completely different team and program. Brad Underwood is the new sheriff in town after leading Stephen F. Austin to numerous NCAA Tournament runs. Underwood brings a fresh prospective and a focus on fundamentals. After a 0-6 start in Big-12 play, the Cowboys have recovered winning 10 of their last 13 to close out the regular season. The Cowboys will be a tough out in the tournament as a hot team that is battle tested.

Strength: Guard Play

Marcus Smart may not be around anymore, but high school and college teammate Phil Forte is still in Stillwater launching shots from deep. Combine Forte with sophomore point guard Jawun Evans and that one of the most underrated backcourts in the country. Evans is 3rd in the NCAA in assist rate at 44%. Forte is shooting 43% from deep which is incredible given the number of attempts (187) and many of those looks are not of the open variety. Guard play is the key to success in the NCAA Tournament and Oklahoma State has two of the best guards that no one is talking about.

Weakness: Foul Issues

Oklahoma State has had a very hard time playing defense without fouling. The backcourt does a very good job limiting foul trouble but the rim protectors have had issues with fouls all year. The Cowboys rank 333rd in FTA/FGA. That stat shows the number of free throws their opponents shoot compared to the number of field goals taken. In a tight game in the NCAA Tournament, Brad Underwood and company could struggle keeping opponents from earning trips to the charity stripe.

 

Photo Source: NewsOk.com

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