Such is the way with prognosticators and national media types who need to fill two hours worth of air time analyzing the NCAA tournament: Watch out Arizona because Oklahoma State and Marcus Smart are coming to San Diego.
“I think they can win the region because I look at what Marcus Smart has done with that team since he’s come back,” ESPN college basketball analyst Digger Phelps said about Oklahoma State during the network’s Bracketology show. “They are explosive. They come after you. Marcus Smart, (Markel) Brown and (Phil) Forte shooting from the perimeter.
“They are a very explosive team. It’s not (Smart’s) scoring. It’s his assists and steals that make him a factor.”
Jay Bilas says #arizonawildcats face a "nightmarish" scenario if they face Oklahoma State in second game
— Bruce Pascoe (@BrucePascoe) March 16, 2014
Oklahoma State is 5-2 since Smart’s return from a three-game suspension for going into the stands at Texas Tech to shove a Red Raiders fan on Feb. 8. The two losses were in overtime at Iowa State on March 8 and against Kansas in the Big 12 tournament on Thursday.
Smart leads the Cowboys with 17.8 points, 4.7 assists and 2.8 steals a game. He is second on the team with 5.7 rebounds a game. Sophomore center Kamari Murphy leads Oklahoma State with 6.2 rebounds a game.
Never mind that Oklahoma State, seeded No. 9, must get by No. 8 Gonzaga first Friday night. The Bulldogs are playing in their 16th straight NCAA tournament and feature two dangerous players: Senior guard David Stockton, son of Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton, and Sam Dower Jr., who had 20 points and 13 rebounds in the West Coast Conference final against BYU.
Here are some Twitter reactions involving Oklahoma State in Arizona’s NCAA tournament pod:
Right now, every other No. 1 seed is glad they won't see Marcus Smart and Co. in the second round.
— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) March 16, 2014
Everybody remembers the last time Arizona played Gonzaga in the Round of 32? That Salt Lake City double-overtime thriller? If the Wildcats face Oklahoma State, they have a history with the Cowboys with a Salim Stoudamire buzzer-beater in the 2005 Sweet 16.
Arizona would face No. 8 Gonzaga/No. 9 Oklahoma State in second game. Remembrances of NCAA games past.
— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) March 16, 2014
Digger Phelps has Oklahoma State going to the National Championship game. Oh, brother.
— Rock Chalk Blog (@RockChalkBlog) March 17, 2014