The Cowboys, at 5-3, are a very tough team to gauge, with a few quality wins (by 25 points against Washington, by 6 against LSU) and also with some bad losses (by 16 at home to Illinois and by 30 at Marquette). The big theme in the interviews was the guard play, with Coach Dixon noting that “(Oklahoma State) can play small, they can play five guards out there and be effective with it…they’re very good.” He said that they would avoid the zone, because of their shooting strengths, instead relying on perimeter defense to contain their shooters.
The main player on the Cowboys is freshman James Anderson- “This kid can really score, he really shoots it well” said Dixon, “(Anderson) can put it on the floor…gets to the offensive boards.” It sounds like they’ll start with Cook guarding him, but Dixon did mention the possibility of rotating defenders on him. Another thing that was brought up was OK State’s huge victory against Washington. When asked if the scoring margin was a sign of OK State being better than us, Mike Cook replied “(Washington) was playing at Oklahoma State, which is a tough place to play…they didn’t have Appleby, and he scored 18 points against us.” After talking to Ronny, I think that Pitt will be fine at home against this team- it’s going to be a tough game, certainly, but we are athletic enough to stop a team that shoots the ball well and we’ll use our transition game against a smaller team to get more rebounds and get the ball inside.
I’ll post later about the rest of the media session and my short chat with Ronny Ramon about the Oakland Zoo.