This could get ugly.
Coming off a 58-55 overtime win over Kansas State, Oklahoma State is set to take on first place Kansas, in the most demoralizing building in the Big 12. It wasn't too long ago that the Cowboys shocked the country by handing Kansas a rare home loss.
On February 2, 2013, Marcus Smart and company led Oklahoma State to an 85-80 win over then-No. 2 Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse. Since 1990, the Cowboys are 1-18 in Lawrence, Kansas, and unfortunately, that record will most likely increase to 1-19 by the time the night is over.
Let's not be too pessimistic. Less than a month ago, Oklahoma State gave Kansas its worse loss of the season, 86-67. Jawun Evans went off with 22 points, and the Cowboys faithful stormed the court. Neither of those two things will happen tonight.
Evans is expected to miss his fourth straight game with a shoulder injury, meaning Tyree Griffin will have to continue to give the Pokes serious minutes. Over the last four games, the 5-10 point guard is averaging a little under 38 minutes a game. The youngster is doing a great job in his new role, but the inconsistency on offense isn't helping him out much. In the last matchup with Kansas, Jeff Newberry notched 13 points, while Jeffrey Carroll pitched in with 11. As a team, OSU shot 88% from the free throw line, compared to Saturday's dismal 59% showing from the line. Oklahoma State will need to generate offense any way they can, and the free throw line has been friendly to the Pokes all year long.
Leyton Hammonds and the rest of the Cowboys did a great job on Perry Ellis last time around, holding the senior (citizen) to 13 points. Oklahoma State's backcourt also did an admirable job on point guard Frank Mason III, but without Evans in the game, Mason may go for more than 14 points tonight. After Saturday's win over Oklahoma, Kansas is now tied for first place in the conference. The Cowboys could do the entire Big 12 a favor tonight by knocking off the Jayhawks, but let's be realistic. No Forte, no Evans, no chance. The Cowboys may keep it close for a while, but Kansas is playing some really good basketball right now, and they save their best for the home crowd.