After being unable to make sense of Oklahoma State’s first half performance – 61 total yards on 30 plays – at Texas Christian in Big 12 Conference football last weekend, I opted to reflect on the quality of holiday college basketball played during "Feast Week."
After being ranked last in the Big 12 preseason men's basketball poll, the Cowboys’ outlook was uncertain. How would numerous newcomers perform? How long would it take the team to mesh and find an identity?
It’s early season, but OSU's performance in last weekend’s AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Florida, makes one think this team could be interesting to watch.
OSU’s third-place finish in the tourney was highlighted by a 90-77 win over 19th-ranked Louisiana State. The Cowboys started fast and finished strong in running their season record to 4-2. Cameron McGriff, a 6-foot-7 junior, scored 28 points against LSU (5-2) to earn all-tourney honors.
OSU romped past Memphis in the tourney opener before falling to red-hot and defending national champion Villanova, 77-58, in the semifinals. Villanova struggled early this season but caught fire to turn back the Cowboys, who made a couple of runs against the Wildcats.
This could be a team with quality depth. Five Cowboys are averaging double figures after six games – led by McGriff (16.8) and followed by 6-foot-4 junior Thomas Dziagwa (12.7), 6-foot-6 junior Lindy Waters III (11.8), 6-foot-2 redshirt sophomore Michael Weathers (10.2) and graduate transfer Mike Cunningham (10.0).
And, 6-foot-10 freshman center Yor Anei has been credited with 15 blocks this season, including a program record-tying six swats against Memphis.
It will be interesting to see what Indiana transfer Curtis Jones, a 6-foot-4 junior guard, brings to the team when he reportedly becomes eligible after the fall semester.
OSU travels to Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Thursday to play against the University of Minnesota on Friday, starting at 9 p.m. The game will be played in U. S. Bank Stadium – home of the Minnesota Vikings – and will be the first hoops’ event in the facility.
Here’s other early season hoops observations:
Third-ranked Gonzaga impressed the college hoops world as it conquered top-ranked Duke in the championship game of the Maui (Hawaii) Classic. The Bulldogs, 6-0, defeated Illinois, Arizona and Duke en route to the title. It was Duke’s first loss in the tourney after 18 victories.
Gonzaga, 6-0, leaped past second-ranked Kansas to earn the No. 1 ranking in this week’s college basketball poll.
Other Big 12 basketball teams in this week’s rankings include No. 12 Kansas State (6-0), No. 17 Texas (5-1) and No. 20 Texas Tech (6-0).
Kansas, 5-0, defeated Marquette and sixth-ranked Tennessee – in overtime – to win the NIT Season Tipoff in Brooklyn, New York. The Jayhawks entertain No. 23 Villanova on Dec. 15.
Iowa State (5-1) appears to be a Big 12 team to watch after the Cyclones lost to Arizona (71-66) but rallied to rout Illinois (84-68) and San Diego State (87-57) in the tourney in Maui.
Ron Holt is a sports columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Holt served as sports editor for more than 30 years and resides in Bixby.