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Preview: Oklahoma State vs. UNO Privateers

Big 12 Basketball Tournament - First Round Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Here are the quick hits for tonight's match-up against the University of New Orleans Privateers:

Privateers (1-0, 0-0 Southland) vs. Cowboys (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, OK

TV: Fox Sports Southwest-Plus

Radio: Cowboy Radio Network / Tunein

Stream: (requires provider login)

Live Stats:

The Cowboys have scored 100+ in both of their first two games this season. OSU is coming off a win against Central Arkansas on Monday, and if you missed anything from that game, catch yourself up here. A majority of the Cowboys points are being manufactured by three individuals, Phil Forte III, Jawun Evans and Jeffery Carroll. The Cowboys will be looking to continue their high scoring streak, but also look to get others involved and continue to get better on both ends of the floor as they build up to the Maui Invitational next week.

The Opponent

Speaking of breaking the century mark, UNO scored 103 in its first and only game this season against Lagrange College last Friday. And, although Lagrange is a Division III school and not Division I like OSU and UNO, 100+ is still a lot of points.

The Privateers are coming off a 10-20 season finishing towards the bottom of the Southland Conference, and most people have them projected to finish around the same if not slightly worse than last season. This will be the second straight Southland foe that OSU will face this season (Central Arkansas), and another opponent that Brad Underwood will be familiar being the former head coach of the Southland’s own Stephen F. Austin.

UNO only lost two seniors from last season’s team, and bring back an experienced group under 6th year head coach Mark Slessinger. Their two leading scorers from last season, Christavious Gil and Erik Thomas, both returned and had a solid first outing combining for 44 points.

New Orleans weakness last season was shooting the 3. They ranked 10th in the Southland conference in 3-point percentage and last in 3s made. In their first game against Lagrange, the Privateers went 8-22 (36.4%) from deep.

Hopefully Brad Underwood continues his dominance of the Privateers. He went 3-0 with an average margin of victory of 29.7 points against UNO as the SFA Lumberjack’s head coach.

3 Big Things

1. Don’t over-dribble.

Brad Underwood stressed in his post game press conference that the Cowboys can’t over-dribble.

Underwood’s motion offense consists of a lot of ball movement and cutting. Over-dribbling stalls this movement and doesn’t allow the offense to flow properly. The stagnant offense and inability to create good looks were some of the problems we saw with Travis Ford-led teams. Jawun Evans and Phil Forte III are amazing players who are great with the ball in their hands, but even they need to keep working to fully embrace Coach Underwood’s offensive style of play. The Cowboys will need to use this last game before they face UConn (0-2) in the Maui Invitational to improve upon their offensive flow.

2. Protect the paint.

As mentioned above, the Privateers were not great from behind the 3-point line last season. They didn’t look to be much improved in their first game against Lagrange. However, UNO does find other ways to score, and likes to get into the paint. They scored 50 points in the paint against Lagrange, and I’m sure they will be looking to get into the lane again and either score or get the Cowboy bigs to commit fouls.

3. Limit the fouls.

Speaking of the Cowboy bigs committing fouls, through the first three games (counting the exhibition), the Cowboys are averaging about 26.3 fouls per game. Let me repeat that in case you zoned out for a second. 26.3 fouls per game. That’s ridiculous. Starting center Mitchell Solomon fouled out vs. Campbell as well as vs. Central Arkansas. It only took six minutes for Solomon to foul out vs. the Bears. I expect the Privateers to go after Solomon early and force Coach Underwood to use his bench much earlier than he wanted to. Senior leader Phil Forte wasn’t happy with the amount of fouls following the game either. When asked about the foul trouble against Central Arkansas (30 total fouls), Forte had this to say.

We have to be smart. Some of our fouls were kind of careless. We're going to play aggressive, we're not going to change that. The fouls 40-50 feet away from the basket are going to have to stop. We gotta get better because every team from now on is going to get better. We have to continue to adjust.