After falling to Iowa State on Wednesday 96-86, OSU travels to Lawrence to face the #2 ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. Kansas is 15-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play, while OSU, (10-6) is looking to avoid their first 0-5 conference start in (500 years??). This matchup will feature the Big 12’s top three scorers with senior guard Frank Mason Jr. leading the way at 20.4 points per contest, followed by Jawun Evans and Jeffrey Carroll.
Cowboys (10-6, 0-4 Big 12) vs. Jayhawks (15-1, 4-0 Big 12)
Time: 1:00 p.m. CST
Location: Allen Fieldhouse - Lawrence, Kansas
Stream: WatchESPN.com (requires provider login)
Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com
Entering Saturday’s tilt againt Oklahoma State, Kansas holds the nation's second longest active winning streak at 15 games. After stumbling out of the gate to Indiana, the Jayhawks haven’t looked back and are currently ranked #2 in the country with a record of 15-1, and are eyeballing the top spot after Baylor lost earlier this week. The Jayhawks are currently sitting atop the Big 12 standings. Led by the stellar play of Frank Mason Jr, Devonte Graham, and freshman phenom Josh Jackson, KU scores just over 86 points per game (in conference play) and leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage and 3-point FG percentage. Currently seeking its 13th consecutive Big 12 championship (!) KU has won 34 straight times in Allen Fieldhouse during conference play. Their last loss coming at the hands of the Marcus Smart led Cowboys on Feb 2, 2013. You may remember this...
Under the direction of Bill Self, KU is 14-8 vs. Oklahoma State, having split the series the last four years, with three of the four OSU wins coming in Stillwater.
After failing to close out games in conference play recently, OSU enters Saturday on a four game losing streak and still winless in the Big 12. Head Coach Brad Underwood is sitting at 99 wins for his career and is looking to become one of the fastest coaches ever to reach 100 career wins, he’ll have another chance this Saturday in Lawrence. Led behind two of the top three scorers in the Big 12, Jawun Evans (18.4 ppg) and Jeffrey Carroll (16.4 ppg), the Pokes are averaging over 88 points per game in conference play (2nd in the Big 12). On the flip side, OSU is giving up a league worst 78.8 points per contest and allowing conference opponents to shoot over 46% from the field (not good). Dating back to last season, the Pokes are on a current 10-game slide in Big 12 action, dropping their last six games in the previous season and beginning this year’s conference campaign with four straight losses. OSU has had its chances in three of their first four conference games, but have shown the inability to close games out and have struggled to turn teams over like they did in the non-conference. They look to right the ship and get Underwood his 100th career win this afternoon against the Jayhawks.
Keys to the Game:
- The Cowboys need big-time performances from Jawun Evans, Jeffrey Carroll, and Phil Forte. Kansas has tons of firepower on offense and Frank Mason Jr. is the early favorite for Big 12 POY. Evans needs to take command of this game like he is capable of, Carroll needs to continue his great play, and Forte has to shoot it well from behind the arc. No shot if our best players don’t show up.
- Can OSU get back to forcing turnovers? Early in non-conference play, we saw Brad Underwood’s team causing chaos with their ball pressure and in-your-face defensive style. This has not been the case in conference play so far, as the Pokes are last in the conference in that category. We will need all the fast break opportunities we can get come 1 p.m.
- Can we stay out of foul trouble? As a basketball team, we foul wayyyy too much. Too many times this season we’ve had multiple guys in foul trouble midway through the second half. Opposing teams are living at the foul line against us and we can’t afford to foul like we have been against KU. If we can match KU at the free throw line, that is a huge win for us.
- We have to weather the storm. KU will make runs, we can’t let those 7-0 runs turn into 12-0 runs. Like any game in Allen Fieldhouse, there is potential for this game to get out of hand quickly if we are overwhelmed early. We need a strong start in Lawrence on Saturday.
KU - 90 OSU - 75
I think in the end, KU in Allen Fieldhouse is too much. We’ll make enough plays for it to be a ball game in the second half, but a late run for the Jayhawks puts this game out of reach down the stretch. KU takes care of business at home.