NCAA tournament team previews: Oklahoma State Cowboys
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team's national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 21-12, 8-10 in Big 12
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 113.8 (27th) / 96.1 (27th)
Seed: No. 9 in West
Impact player: Marcus Smart, sophomore guard, 17.8 ppg, 4.7 apg, 2.8 spg
The Case For:
Marcus Smart may be one of the most polarizing people in college basketball, but everyone will agree he is one of the best players in the country, and his ability to take over a game gives opposing coaches nightmares. Smart rightfully gets most the hype and attention, but don't forget about sophomore guard Phil Forte, who leads Oklahoma State with 98 three-pointers (.445 percent) and shoots 87 percent from the line. In crunch time, everyone will be focused on Smart -- but it might be Forte who becomes the hero. It's also worth paying attention to Markel Brown and his 17.1 points per game.
The Case Against:
The Cowboys went 0-3 when Smart was suspended in mid-February -- part of a seven-game losing streak -- so you have to wonder if they can figure out a way to win should opposing defenses contain Smart. They also struggle to finish: Seven of their 12 losses have come by four points are fewer, and their last three losses have all been in overtime. Brown averages 35 minutes a game, and that hasn't tapered off as the season wore on -- does he have enough gas in the tank to help his team to a deep run?
SI prediction: Beat Gonzaga in second round, lose to Arizona in third round View complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts