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Previewing OSU’s Basketball Schedule: Conference Part 3

Two new coaches and that other team from Oklahoma.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

We have finally reached the end of the schedule, just in time for OSU to begin its season tonight against the Campbell Fighting Camels. Today, we wrap up the Big 12 portion of our schedule preview, with a look at the Red Raiders, Horned Frogs, and Sooners.

You can take a look at the rest of our conference previews HERE and HERE.

Let’s get started:

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Last season Tech got into the NCAA Tournament as an 8 seed where they lost to Butler 71-61. In the off-season, head coach Tubby Smith left to take over Memphis, and the Raiders snagged Chris Beard from UNLV just days after he signed on to coach their team.

Player to Watch:
Tech returns two guys who started all 32 games last season in Zach Smith and Keenan Evans. Smith is the best returning starter from last year’s squad. He averaged 10 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. However, I think it’s Anthony Livingston we need to keep an eye on. He transferred in from Arkansas State where last year he nearly averaged 15.5 points and 9.4 rebounds a game. He played against new TTU head coach Chris Beard last season, so Beard should be familiar enough with his game to be able to bring him into the fold quickly.

Game Outlook:
KenPom thinks Tech will be better this year. He might be right, but so will we. I think we sweep both games. Look, what Chris Beard did at UALR last year was impressive. It mirrored Brad Underwood’s first season at SFA. The difference is, Underwood did it three years in a row, proving consistency. Beard did it one year. I’m not saying he’s not a good coach, and won’t succeed in Lubbock, but of the new Big 12 hires this offseason, he comes in with the most question marks. I think Underwood and our talent trumps Tech twice.

Quote From The Enemy: (source)

TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs have been cellar dwellers since arriving in the Big 12. They look to change that trend with the hiring of the Jamie Dixon and the highest rated recruit the school has ever signed this season.

Player To Watch:
TCU returns four of their five starters from a year ago. Trent is TCU’s top returning scorer after averaging 11.6 points a game last year. He’s also the team’s only returning double digit scorer. The guy to keep an eye on though, is freshman point guard Jaylen Fisher. The consensus 4-star player was ranked as the No. 34 overall player in the country by ESPN, and the 8th best point guard. He was a big, late get for Dixon, and going to easily be the most talented player on the court for the Horned Frogs this season.

Game Outlook:
TCU made a fantastic move when it lured Jamie Dixon away from Pittsburgh. The guy is a talented coach, and his hiring should help with recruiting. However, TCU probably has the least talented team in the Big 12 so he’s not going to have much to work with this season. I want to predict a season sweep for OSU against TCU, but the Horned Frogs have found ways to pull off some upsets at home the past few years. With an upgrade a coach, and a talented point guard, that could very well happen a few more times this year. Still, 2-0 OSU.

Quote From The Enemy: (source)

Oklahoma Sooners

After a trip to the Final Four, OU is expected to take a step back. They lost some Sooner staples in Isaiah Cousins, Buddy Hield, and Ryan Spangler, and return only two starters from last year. This year’s team will feature 11 underclassmen! It’s the perfect opportunity for OSU to start getting some wins against their in-state rivals.

Player to Watch:
Woodard and Lattin are OU’s only two returners, and I expect Woodard to remain one of the Sooner’s better players. The guys I’m most interested in are two true freshmen: forward Kristian Doolittle and guard Kameron McGusty. Doolittle was a 4-star recruit and the No. 1 rated player in Oklahoma according to ESPN. In his senior year with Edmond Memorial he averaged a healthy 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists a game. McGusty was a 4-star recruit and ranked as the 33rd best player by ESPN. He spent his senior year at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas (the alma mater of Buddy Hield) where he averaged 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists a game. Those are two very talented freshmen who could decide just how good a season the Sooners have this year.

Game Outlook:
Travis Ford was never very good against the Sooners. While Kansas is technically more of a rival in basketball, beating OU has got to be a focus for Underwood. OU is going to be talented, but young. Lon Kruger is a heck of a coach, and should have the Sooners playing well. I think this year is a great opportunity for OSU to start evening the series up. However, I’m still only going to call a 1-1 record for the Cowboys against the in-state rivals this year.

Quote From The Enemy: (source)

Recap: Texas Tech and TCU could both be better this year, but I don’t see either one being better than a healthy OSU. OU isn’t going to suddenly fall off the map despite what they lost. Kruger has that program humming and brought in some real talent.

In all, Tyler and I decided on a 10-8 record in Big 12 play. That may seem a bit ambitious, but I don’t think so. I think 7-2 at home, 3-6 on the road seems fair. Combine that with our projected 9-4 non-conference record and we see OSU ending the regular season with a 19-12 record. That, with the 10-8 record in the tough Big 12, should get the Cowboys an invite to the Big Dance.

The season tips off tonight against Campbell. If you can’t make it, then get on your orange and cheer loud from wherever you are. It’s going to be a fun season, something we haven’t been able to say for a while. Go Pokes!