The surprise team in the Big 12 so far this season is 23rd-ranked Oklahoma State, and the reason for the Cowboys success can be found in a message Travis Ford delivered to his team on Wednesday night against South Florida.
During each timeout, Ford said he found himself preaching “whoever’s team’s defense is better tonight is going to win the game.” On most nights a season ago, that wasn’t Oklahoma State and it was South Florida. The Bulls were one of the toughest teams to score against in college basketball, riding their defense to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 20 years. Yet it was Ford’s Cowboys who out-defensed the Bulls in a 61-49 win.
“That’s one of our main goals every time we step out on the court,” OSU guard Markel Brown said. “We just want to go out there and focus on our defense, no matter if our shots are falling for us or not. Defense will win games for us.”