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The Oklahoma State Basketball MVP Draft: Kansas

Bring on the mighty Jayhawks

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Now that football season is completely over (8 long months away....) we can finally turn our full attention to basketball (until baseball season starts of course). This week we’ve selected Kansas as the opponent for our MVP Basketball Draft.

First off, for those who haven’t seen the MVP Draft before, here’s the rules: Each participant will pick ONE PLAYER from EACH TEAM they think will perform the best. They will then pick a third player from either team as their wild card pick. Each correct pick is worth one point. We will tally the points throughout the season.

Before we talk Bill Self, let’s count up the points from last week’s draft.

OSU: Jawun Evans | Baylor: Johnathan Motley | Wild Card: Jo Lual-Acuil (Baylor)

OSU: Jawun Evans | Baylor: Johnathan Motley | Wild Card: Jo Lual-Acuil (Baylor)

OSU: Jawun Evans | Baylor: Johnathan Motley | Wild Card: Ishmail Wainright (Baylor)

Opponent (Kendall Kaut)
OSU: Jawun Evans | Baylor: Johnathan Motley | Wild Card: Jo Lual-Acuil (Baylor)

Oklahoma State: Jawun Evans gets the point because he was the only one selected (yawn). He didn’t have a great game, getting 8 points on only 2-12 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. I will take this opportunity to say “thank you” to Phil Forte for finally finding his shot!
Baylor: Johnathan Motley gets the point because (again) he was the only one picked. He did have a good game with 13 points and 10 rebounds, plus 3 assists and 3 blocks.
Wild Card: Congrats to Sumer for being the only person who made a pick different from the rest. As her reward she gets the point. Wainright had a better game getting 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

Let’s update the standings!

Opponent - 8
Sumer - 8
Sam - 7
Tyler - 4

Now on to this week, where the Cowboys face the Jayhawks in Phog Allen. The last time Oklahoma State won at Kansas, this happened:

The Cowboys remain winless in Big 12 play after Wednesday’s loss to Iowa State. Phog Allen isn’t the best place to go to try to win a Big 12 game, but that’s not going to stop the team from trying.

This week, Steve Fetch from our Kansas SBNation sister site Rock Chalk Talk joins us to make the opponent picks. Say hi everyone.

I will also be filling in for Sumer this week.


OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | KU: Frank Mason III | Wild Card: Josh Jackson (KU)

Oklahoma State: While Jawun Evans seems to be struggling in the beginning of Big 12 play, both Carroll and Phil Forte have had to step up to try and keep the game close. Carroll gets the edge here for me because he plays like a more complete basketball player - he drives to the basket, can shoot from deep, dishes assists, collects rebounds, and - for the most part - stays out of foul trouble.
Kansas: The dude is balling. Leading the team in points per game, assists per game, three point percentage, is second in field goal percentage (minimum of 50 shots), and is third on the team in free throw percentage. He is a bit turnover prone, but it isn't enough for me to pick against him. Plus the Cowboys more-than-spotty defense beyond the arc should allow him to launch a few long range missiles.
Wild Card: The freshman phenom is living up to expectations thus far. He is the second leading scorer on the team, has 22 blocks (team leading), 24 steals (second best), second best rebounder on the team, and fourth best field goal percentage (minimum of 50 shots). Add that with the Cowboys struggling interior defense (and the defense overall), and I would be willing to bet the freshman will have a good game.


OSU: Phil Forte | KU: Josh Jackson | Wild Card: Frank Mason III (KU)

Oklahoma State: Playing some of his best basketball of the season so far, Forte has scored in double figures in 5 of his last 6 games, including 24 against Iowa State. It’s almost impossible to go into Allen Fieldhouse and get a W. The Jayhawks haven’t lost at home since San Diego State in 2014 (KU Athletics). Not only are you playing against the 5 guys on the court, you’re playing against 16,300 screaming fans. The best way to quiet that many people is with the 3-ball. Forte is shooting 69% from behind the arc in his last two games. With Frank Mason III and Jawun Evans matching up, it could be a chance for Forte to get plenty of looks from the perimeter.
Kansas: One of KU’s biggest pieces, Josh Jackson is quickly becoming a big-time name in college basketball. The McDonald’s All-American is averaging 15.4 PPG and also has an impressive 22 blocks in 16 games. His best basketball is played inside the perimeter, and his outside shooting numbers (25.7%) shouldn’t spark concern from Coach Underwood. Jackson also has shown struggles from the free-throw line (56%) so the OSU bigs should be able to play him physical down low. Jackson is an elite competitor, and has great ability to finish at the rim through contact. If KU goes big with Bragg and Lucas in the front court, Jackson will move to shooting guard and carry a bigger load of handling the basketball. He ultimately can be a match-up nightmare with his size and athleticism, and ability to play on the perimeter.
Wild Card: The “do it all” point guard for the Jayhawks who will be in charge of slowing down Juwan Evans. Averaging 34 minutes a game, Mason III has been one of the best point guards in the country this season. Mason’s game is a lot like Jawun, with the expectation of having a big scoring night every time he touches the floor. Frank has notched 2 30-point games, and has scored in double figures in all but 1 game (Long Beach State). I’m really looking forward to watching Jawun Evans match up with Mason, and it could be a fun night if they both get going offensively. Frank Mason is my wildcard because i think he is the only KU player that can shut down Evans, and he should match his season averages offensively.


OSU: Phil Forte | KU: Landen Lucas | Wild Card: Jeffrey Carroll (OSU)

Oklahoma State: Forte has finally found his shot. That makes him the most dangerous player for Oklahoma State. Especially since Evans seems to have lost his. Forte went through a rough patch, but now that he’s back to normal he’s dangerous. In the last four games, Forte is shooting 52% from the field and 56% from beyond the arch. I expect him to show up in this game.
Kansas: Off the bench Lucas averages more than 7 points and more than 7 rebounds. I could go with Jackson and Mason, but I’m going to use the same philosophy I did with football: play to win. I don’t love our bench. They have good games and bad. I don’t feel good about them in this game which means someone (I’m gambling Lucas) will have a good game against them.
Wild Card: If everyone else is going Kansas, I’ll go OSU. If I’m going Cowboys, I’m going to go with the guy I expect to get it done. I’ve been saying all season that Carroll was the second most important player for OSU this season. I think I need to add the best. He’s been the most consistent. Forte and Jawun have gone through slumps (which Evans is still in). Carroll continues to be awesome off the bench and starting. That’s worth a Wild Card pick.

Opponent: Steve Fetch

OSU: Jawun Evans | KU: Landen Lucas | Wild Card: Devonte Graham (KU)

Oklahoma State: He was my preseason Big 12 player of the year pick, and while his shooting percentages aren't great, he tore KU up last year via driving and kicking. I think he'll probably rack up the assists again in this one. I honestly think he's one of the best handful of point guards in America, and could easily see a 20 point, 10 assist type game from him.
Kansas: Frank Mason and Josh Jackson would be too obvious, so let's be daring. Oklahoma State is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the country, and they don't have a ton of height. They also commit a ton of fouls. Lucas has had a double double in 3 of KU's 4 Big 12 games. The two things that make me a bit worried are he commits quite a few fouls (and OSU draws quite a few fouls) so he might have to sit due to foul trouble, and Kansas doesn't run a ton of offense for him, so his points will likely have to come via putbacks and the like. However, assuming defense counts, I think Lucas will have a good day on that end, even if it might not show up in the boxscore.
Wild Card: Graham has emerged from his mini 3-point shooting slump, and is 10-23 in his last three games. I also assume Phil Forte is going to be guarding him and with all do respect to Forte, I like Graham to score quite a bit in that scenario. Graham is also pretty good at following guys around ball screens and the like, so I think if he is on Forte defensively he will do a good job there.