MORGANTOWN — oooooo
Oklahoma State has been the surprise team in the conference under Travis Ford, jumping off to the 7-1 start with a couple of impressive victories over Tennessee of the SEC and North Carolina State of the ACC, but they could not handle the same Virginia Tech team that WVU edged over the weekend.
OSU is doing it with defense, ranking second in the conference in opponent’s shooting percentage, while also leading the conference in free throw shooting to help down the stretch of close games.
While Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown are leading the way scoring, Nash ranked second in the conference at 16.3 points a game, Marcus Smart has been the glue that has held the team together at the point.
“He has given a big lift to the team as a point guard and leader,” Ford said. “He does so many things and affects the game in a lot of different ways.”
What makes the Cowboys’ start all that more spectacular is that they have been without three starters, two of which should be back sometime this season to give them depth.
In case you were wondering, WVU ranks last in the Big 12 in field goal shooting percentage, the only team under 40 percent at 39.8.
Somewhat surprisingly, WVU ranks eighth out of the 10 teams in defense, giving up 66 points a game.
Like West Virginia, TCU is new to the Big 12, but unlike West Virginia, they are not expected to make much of a splash.
Coach Trent Johnson says he’s been so involved with his team that he hasn’t cast an eye toward conference play yet, that beginning in January.
“Quite frankly I haven’t looked at a lot of the teams in the league. I’ve been consumed with our team and am trying to get us to play through some mental toughness and physical toughness. We know our margin of error is thin,” he said.