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Preview: Oklahoma State vs. Rogers State Hillcats

NCAA Basketball: Maui Invitational- Georgetown vs Oklahoma State Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a week, the Pokes hit the hardwood to take on....hold on a second....

....Division II opponent Rogers State. *Spoiler Alert: we here at CRFF are not happy about this game. Read on for more on that.

After taking home third place in Maui, the Cowboys, led by Jawun Evans, look to continue their impressive season and finish out the non-conference strong before starting the gauntlet that is the Big 12 basketball conference.

Here are the quick hits for tonight's in-state match-up against the Rogers State Hillcats hailing from Claremore, OK.

Hillcats (4-2, 1-1 Away) vs. Cowboys (5-1, 3-0 Home)

Time: 7:00 p.m. CST

Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, OK

TV: FSSW+

Radio: Cowboy Radio Network / Tunein

Stream: FoxSportsGo.com (requires provider login)

Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com


The Opponent

Last season, Rogers State had an impressive 23-5 overall record, including a 15-5 conference record. They were an astounding 14-1 at home.

This season, they have gotten a pretty decent start, bringing a 4-2 record into tonight’s matchup. The Hillcats are averaging 79 points per game, while only allowing 75.5 points per game. RSU is led by senior guard JD Tisdale, who is averaging 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.

That being said, I still don’t anticipate Brad Underwood having any problem with this team. If they do, expect a very fiery (more than normal) Coach Underwood at the postgame presser.


Three Big Things:

1. Don’t allow them to hang around with 3s.

Rogers State is a very good 3-point shooting team. They currently are shooting 43.6% as a team from deep, making an average of eight 3s per game. While this is 18th best in Division II, 43.6% would make the Hillcats tied for 8th best in Division I. Their most impressive outing from downtown was in their homecoming game vs Bacone College when they made 17 of their 28 shots from distance. The main man the Pokes need to shut down is Travis Hester. Hester is shooting an incredible 50% from beyond the arc with 21 made treys in their first six games. Keep him in check, and you take away a huge component of the Hillcats’ offense.

2. Take care of business.

Regardless of how good of a season they had last year, or how good this year has started for them, Rogers State University is still a Division II school. I want to see a dismantling similar to what we did to the New Orleans Privateers. We got ZERO love from the AP Poll this week, though we did get some appreciation from the ESPN Power Rankings. Take care of business both today and Saturday against Maryland, and that should change.

3. QUIT SCHEDULING GARBAGE GAMES

Alright, this one doesn’t really have anything to do with the game itself. This has to do with the quality of games we are scheduling. I understand a couple cupcakes to begin the season, but scheduling a Division II team after coming out of a tournament having played UConn, UNC, and Georgetown is ludicrous. The worst part? This isn’t even the last one. We still have Tulsa (in Tulsa), Arkansas - Pine Bluff, and Texas A&M - Corpus Christi before starting conference play. What a garbage non-conference schedule. Having such a bad non-conference schedule definitely hurts the all-important RPI come time for the Big Dance. If we are a bubble team and it’s very close, our RPI will - without a doubt - hurt us. We were gifted a good home game with the Big 12/SEC challenge by getting Arkansas at GIA later this season, but other than that, our home schedule has got to be one of the worst in the country. A while back, Brad Underwood said he will be scheduling tougher opponents. It cannot come soon enough. The fans of Oklahoma State deserve a better non-conference schedule than this. We are much too good to waste six of our seven home games on the equivalents of an FCS football team. IT MUST CHANGE.