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Cowboy Gameday: Kansas State Wildcats

The Cowboys (13-5) travel to the Little Apple to face off against the Wildcats (11-8) in a crucial Big 12 showdown.

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State Cowboys (13-5, 3-3 Big 12) at Kansas State Wildcats (11-8, 4-2 Big 12)

Where: Fred Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS

When: 11:00 a.m. CT

TV: ESPN2

Online Stream: WatchESPN

View from the enemy: Bring on the 'Cats!

Radio: Cowboy Sports Network

Projected Lineups:

Cowboys Wildcats
HC Travis Ford Bruce Weber
G Anthony Hickey Marcus Foster
G Phil Forte III Jevon Thomas
G/F Jeff Newberry Nino Williams
F Le'Bryan Nash Wesley Iwundu
F Michael Cobbins Thomas Gipson

Cowboys-Wildcats Preview:

MANHATTAN, Kan., Jan., 23, 2015 -- The Cowboys (13-5) are still trying to find their proper balance as it seems like each game depends on how well the team is shooting from 3. Coming off a shellacking of Texas Tech, the 'Boys are looking to stay hot handed as they head into the teeth of the Octagon of Doom.  However, the Wildcats (11-8) were riding an impressive 4-game win streak until they too tried their hand at conquering Hilton Magic but fell short.

This will be the second meeting of the two teams this season, with the Cowboys coming away victorious in their first meeting on January 3 in Gallagher-Iba Arena, winning 61-47. The Pokes were led by Phil Forte who dropped in 20 points in the victory. So far this season, the Cowboys have been averaging 4.2 points per game more than the Wildcats and have been holding opponents to 3.7 points less.

However, these statistics don't necessarily count out the 'Cats.  On offense, they bring in 3 players averaging in double digits in Marcus Foster, Nino Williams, and Thomas Gipson.  There also isn't much drop off with their bench either, with all of their role players averaging between 2.0 and 6.3 points per game.  There is something lacking on their defensive end.  They are holding their conference opponents to 41.1% shooting and are last in the conference in blocks and rebounds and 8th in steals.  In comparison, the Cowboys are holding opponents to 39.4% shooting and are 2nd in steals and 3rd in blocks.

Keys to the Game

  1. Forte En Fuego - During OSU's two blowouts of the season (at South Carolina and at Oklahoma), Phil Forte shot 16% from the field.  The rest of their games he's been shooting a very respectable percentage of 45.6%.  Once Forte finds his groove, he can knock them down with the best of them from any range and keep defenses spread out to the perimeter and open up the point for the next key.
  2. Feed the Big Guys - Kansas State is lacking in the height department.  The only big men that see much time are 6'7" Thomas Gipson and 6'11" Stephen Hurt off the bench.  Beyond these two, the Wildcats have a fairly small interior.  Cue Le'Bryan Nash, Michael Cobbins, Mitchell Solomon, and Anthony Allen.  With a superior size advantage, the Cowboys should be controlling the boards on both ends of the court as well as having the advantage in the post.
  3. #LetHickeyBeHickey - Anthony Hickey is one of the most underrated point guards in the league.  He currently is 7th in the league in assists per game and has the 2nd highest Assist-to-Turnover ratio of 2.60.  He also comes in 14th in defensive rebounds and 3rd steals.  Hickey is all over the court when he's in.  With his ability to drive and shoot 3's, run the Point as a true pass first guard, and display constant harassing defense, the Cowboys need a complete game from him to push the Wildcats. Hopefully, we see more of this on Saturday morning.

We will have your recap after the game comes to a close right here at CRFF! Enjoy some Saturday basketball!