2009-2010 Oklahoma State Cowboys Basketball Preview
After going to the NIT for three straight years, the Oklahoma State Cowboys (23- 12 overall, 9- 7 Big 12) managed a trip to the NCAA Tournament last season where they were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Panthers 84- 76 in round two. That happened in coach Travis Ford’s first season. What will he do for an encore? Probably more of the same. This is a team that will be very competitive.
The major area that the Cowboys must improve in is defense. Last year, the team allowed opponents to score 74.5 PPG, which earned them an 11th place ranking. Another weak area was rebound margin, where they were rated eighth at minus-1.5. Scoring offense was solid as the second rated Cowboys averaged 80.9 PPG. The team topped the conference in both free throw and three-point percentage, hitting 75% and 38% respectively. From the field, Oklahoma State knocked in 46% (5th).
In his sophomore season last year, forward Marshall Moses (7.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 0.3 APG) went from being the fourth-string forward to number one. He improved in leaps and bounds and it’s hoped that he can continue to show progress in his junior year. Matt Pilgrim, a transfer from Kentucky, looks to be a major player immediately, while freshman forward Roger Franklin brings refined skills to the court. Six-foot-eleven center Teeng Akol (0.4 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.2 APG) contributed little in his frosh season. But he’s said to have improved during the off-season.
Ford, whose Cowboys run an up tempo offense, utilizes four guards. There are many fine candidates for the second, third and fourth spots, but the point guard position is up in the air. It looks to go to one of three talented freshmen: Ray Penn, Fred Gulley or Reger Dowell. Penn is the highest rated of the three, bringing speed, skills and scoring talent to the court. Gulley is a solid defensive player and Dowell has decent game chops. Junior James Anderson (18.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.4 APG), a star-in-the-making, will man the shooting spot.
There are certainly depth issues on this team and concern when it comes to experience. Still, Ford has a talented group of returning players and some impressive recruits. The primary concern relates to the point guard spot, which will be run by a first-year player. The Cowboys should be fun and exciting to watch as they garner a fifth place finish and a second straight invite to attend the main event: March Madness.