Cowboys Hold The Key To Beating Pittsburgh

STILLWATER -- The Cowboys have the keys to victory in East Rutherford on Thursday when they take on number three seed Pittsburgh for a spot in college basketball's "Elite Eight." The game with the Panthers tips off at 6:27 p.m. Oklahoma time on Thursday and O-State associate head coach Sean Sutton believes the Cowboys will have the control of their own destiny in the matchup with a team Sutton calls, "very powerful."

        "They are all about power basketball, and they want to play a half court game and take advantage of their rebounding prowess," said Sutton as he was getting ready to put in another video tape of the Panthers from this season. "They really like to go to the glass and get putbacks and second opportunities. They can pound you if you don't prepare yourself."

        In order to avoid becoming Pitt's 32nd victim of the season Sutton believes the Cowboys will need to impose their will over the tempo of the game. Play the game at a quicker pace allowing for more possessions on each side. Both teams like to play smothering man defense and both teams can rebound well. It was those rebounds and second chances that led to Pitt's second round win over Wisconsin in what amounted to a road game in Milwaukee on Sunday. The Panthers won the game 59-55.

        Other keys according to Sutton include playing post defense on 6-10 freshman forward Chris Taft, who will be two inches taller than any player on either team at the start of the game. Taft is joined in the Pittsburgh starting lineup by fellow forward 6-7 Chevon Troutman, and guards Carl Krauser (6-2), Jaron Brown (6-4), and Julius Page (6-3). All five Panther starters average in double figures in scoring with Krauser leading at 15.4 ppg and Troutman at the low end averaging 10 points a game. They are very physical, would love to get into a free throw shooting contest, and will not back down. They are not a high scoring team and they don't shoot three pointers much.    

    Sutton added that besides tempo and rebounding, post defense and offensive production weigh in on the issue. Ivan McFarlin and Joey Graham will both be expected to maintain their play at a high level. Sutton is confident, but also reminds the team all the time that Pittsburgh has won a lot of games over the past two seasons. Don't expect a slow start Pittsburgh has the Cowboys full attention and respect.


        OSU assistant James Dickey is scouting the Pittsburgh game with Glynn Cyprien handling Wake Forest and Sean Sutton scouting St. Joseph's. Obviously, all three coaches help each other, but those three lay the early ground work for the weekend's foes.

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