Still dumbfounded by that loss to A&M? Wanting to take a week or so off as a fan to get your head on straight and try to make sense of Reger Dowell's performance? Too bad, get in the car, we are heading up I-35 to Lawrence to take on the Morris twins and the #1 ranked (for now) Kansas Jayhawks. There is one positive out of this though.... when your team has just lost a resume killing, tournament ousting type of game like the Cowboys did on Saturday, then you want to play a good team next to make up for it. Any scenario that called for the Pokes to make the tourney had them going 1-1 in the A&M and Kansas games, so that hope is still alive... it is just A LOT less likely that the @Kansas game will be the win.
So is there any reason to keep hope alive? Well Pomeroy doesn't think so as he gives the Cowboys a 4% chance of winning this game and predicts an 82-62 Jayhawk win. And Pomeroy is right...there is very little chance of Oklahoma State pulling this one out. But just for the hell of it, let's break down what needs to happen for the Pokes to pull off the unthinkable.
Hope for an off shooting night from Kansas
I hate to put it that way as opposed to saying that the Cowboy defense should force them into bad shots, but the Jayhawks lead the nation in FG% at 52.1%, are 17th in 3PT% at 39%, and the main reason for these great percentages isn't because they are lights out shooters, it is because their ball movement is so exceptional that they get tons of open shots. I don't expect the Cowboy defense to be able to properly contest every shot, so let's just hope that the Jayhawks are a little off. Yes, we are at the point where key to victory #1 is "hope the other team didn't get enough sleep".
Pressure the guards
Ya! Something we can control! The Pokes need to take a lesson from K-State, who in their dismantling of Kansas exposed how easily Tyshawn Taylor can be coaxed in to making mistakes. He had 6 turnovers in that game, and made countless other bad decisions that forced the Jayhawks into wasted possessions. It's not like Bill Self doesn't know that PG is this teams weak spot, and Taylors minutes have been steadily decreasing as a result of his play, but if the Cowboys are to have any chance at this, the front line of the attack needs to be on Taylor and the PGs.
Frustrate the Morris twins
The Jayhawks are a very good in the frontcourt and have excellent rebounding numbers thanks mostly to the play of the Morris twins. However, the main knock on the twins (Marcus more than Markieff) is that if frustrated they have a tendency to disappear or lash out and get into foul trouble. Some pesky early defensive work from Pilgrim, Shaw, and Franklin, and getting physical on the boards could throw them off their game and open up some opportunities for the Cowboys.
Reger Dowell needs to repeat his performance from Saturday
If the Pokes expect to have any chance here, that Dowell performance better not have been a fluke. Jacob Pullen proved that the Jayhawks are susceptible to let downs on the defensive end that allow a PG to drive and either get to the line or get to the basket. Pullen finished that game with 19 free throw attempts, and the physicality that Dowell showed on Saturday suggests that he could deliver a poor man's version of what Pullen did.
So yes, the chance of all of these things working out in the Pokes favor is somewhere around 4%, but this is why we are fans, and why we follow our team.... because sometimes that 4% happens. There is nothing in sports that is more depressing than a defeated fanbase, so I say we take the "anything is possible" approach and look at this game as an opportunity instead of a guillotine.... even if it is just an opportunity to keep hope alive for another few hours before the Jayhawks bring the blade down on our season.
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