The awards and accolades just keep rolling in for Oklahoma State's super-freshman. Smart's strong play and leadership has helped to change the culture in Stillwater and now he's being recognized for those efforts. Smart was named Big 12 Rookie of the Year, Big 12 Player of the Year, and also headlined the All-Big 12 First Team. He recently won the Wayman Tisdale Award for the nation's top freshman and is in contention for the Naismith and Wooden Awards for National Player of the Year. Oh, by the way, his Cowboys are pretty darn good.
Even though it's just a glorified training camp, spring football is the first time players, coaches and fans get to see their favorite team suit up in preparation for the season. The storylines are fun—replacing departing stars, position battles and the integration of new coaches—but for the most part it's just exciting to know that football season isn't too far away.
The Future of TU Men's Hoops
Things are looking up in Tulsa. TU freshmen James Woodard and D'Andre Wright have been excellent this season and were recently named to Conference USA's All-Freshman Team. These two guys will give coach Danny Manning plenty to work with as he looks to turn the Golden Hurricane into a consistent power. The two combined for six C-USA Freshman of the Week awards and should be the faces of TU hoops moving forward.
The Sooners are 22-1 on the season and have allowed just four total runs in nine games against ranked opponents. That's incredible enough, but now they've got something to show for it. OU is now the consensus No. 1-ranked team in the country for the first time ever. Senior pitcher Michelle Gascoigne leads Division I with a 0.70 earned run average, while sophomore Lauren Chamberlain ranks No. 1 with 13 home runs, 1.65 runs scored per game and a 1.242 slugging percentage.
State Championship Heroics
State championship games often bring about heroic performances and historic moments, but two in particular stood out this year. OSU commit Stevie Clark dropped 51 points to lead Douglass High School to a 4A State Title victory over Roland High. Talk about showing up for a big game.
And then there was the 6A Championship, where Jordan Woodard hadn't scored a point all game, but his tip-shot with less than a second on the clock gave Edmond Memorial the wild one-point victory over Midwest City. Gotta' love March.
The Not So Good
Uh oh. The OU men's hoops squad, one of the most consistent teams in the country, dropped an inexplicable game at lowly TCU, right when they could least afford to do so. The loss to the 226th-ranked RPI squad was bad enough, but OU followed that up with a loss to Iowa State in the first round of the Big 12 Tourney. The Sooners are back on the bubble, and while they still have a good chance of making the dance, their seed is going to be a tough one to overcome.
Thunder in Big Games
After this week's drubbing in San Antonio, the Thunder is a combined 1-4 against the Spurs and Heat this season, and in order to take the next step and win a title, those are the two team's they'll have to get by. Running over the rest of the league is all well and good, but OKC must improve against elite competition.
After starting the season 5-4, the Golden Eagles have hit the wall. ORU has lost six straight games and now sits at 5-10 on the season. When the pitching has been good, the offense has been silent, and vise versa. That needs to change quickly, because the Golden Eagles' next five games are against Cal State Fullerton and Oklahoma.