The Basketball MVP draft returns for an early edition this week! How could we pass up the opportunity to make picks for Kansas State? After all, it is Coach Underwood’s first game coaching against his alma mater since taking over at OSU. Plus it’s a home game. Wouldn’t it be great for him to hit win number 100 against the Wildcats?
First off, for those who haven’t seen the MVP Draft before, here are 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 K-State, let’s tally up the points from last week:
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | KU:
Frank Mason III | Wild Card: Josh Jackson (KU)
Phil Forte | KU: Josh Jackson | Wild Card: Frank Mason III (KU)
Phil Forte | KU: Landen Lucas | Wild Card: Jeffrey Carroll (OSU)
Opponent: Steve Fetch
Jawun Evans | KU: Landen Lucas | Wild Card: Devonte Graham (KU)
Oklahoma State: Carroll was a total stud against Kansas. He had a line of 23/7/3 and he just keeps getting better. Don’t get me wrong, I would have awarded this to Solomon if someone had picked him.
Kansas: Anytime you get a double-double, it’s a good game. 20 points and 11 rebounds is impressive. Throw in 4 steals and you get the point.
Wild Card: This was a close call between Mason and Graham; the numbers were similar, 22 points vs 21 points, 5 rebounds vs 3 rebounds, 4 assists vs 4 assists. Here’s the funny thing, though ... I’m not giving it to Mason. The dude earned nine of his points at the line. I’m still mad about the fouls. Point Graham.
Opponent - 9
Sumer - 8
Sam - 8
Tyler - 5
Let’s shift our focus toward Kansas State. OSU will go for their first Big 12 win of the season for the 6th straight time. OSU has been playing better since the West Virginia smack down, but has been unable to get over the hump. Here’s hoping this week this finally changes.
With that, let’s go to the picks:
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | KSU: Wesley Iwundu | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Jawun Evans is looking better, Phil Forte seems to have (finally) found his shot, but it's the redshirt sophomore who gets my pick this week. Coming off his 7th 20+ point game of the season, Carroll looks to stay hot against a Kansas State team that is 2-3 in Big 12 play. I'm gonna make the bold prediction and say he earns his third double-double of the season, and his second career dub-dub in conference play.
Kansas State: Not just a cool name to say, Iwundu is making solid contributions for the Wildcats this season. On the season, he is averaging almost 12 ppg (13 in conference play), and 5 rpg. He also has 58 dimes this season, good for second best on the team. While Iwundu isn't leading the team in any categories, he is a good all-around player and a stat sheet stuffer.
Wild Card: As I said earlier, Phil seems to have found his shot, thankfully. Through five conference games, Phil is averaging almost 16 points per game, and is hitting 49% of his deep shots (and some are really deep). Phil shoots well at home it seems, and I would hope so, considering his routine is 600 made (not just shot, made) three pointers a day or something like that. Kansas State is 262nd in 3 pt FG defense, and the Pokes (who are not much better, ranked 246th) need to take advantage of it and make it rain from downtown.
OSU: Mitchell Solomon | KSU: Wesley Iwundu | Wild Card: Jawun Evans (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Going out on a limb here, but maybe Solomon is finding his groove. Coming off a 16 point performance against powerhouse KU, Soloman at times looked like the best player on the floor for the Pokes. His numbers have not been eye-opening this season, but the Cowboys are still looking for a consistent presence down low, and maybe Solomon is that guy. Brad Underwood has played his front court by committee this season, so Solomon’s performance against KU may lead to more opportunities against the Cats.
Kansas State: A highly-athletic 6’7 Forward from Houston, Iwundu is an all-around player for the Cats. Averaging 12 points and 5 boards a game. Iwundu is a projected 2nd round pick in the NBA Draft (Draft Express). Iwundu plays with a high basketball IQ and is very fundamentally sound, averaging 3 assists a game. Iwundu was selected to the All-Big 12 Defensive team as a junior, so his defense ability could be important against a team with the likes of Jeffrey Carroll and Jawun Evans.
Wild Card: My most consistent MVP pick is Jawun Evans. Still leading the team in PPG with 18.2, Evans has also been the most consistent player for the Cowboys this season. Evans is coming off a solid game against the Kansas Jayhawks, with a 15 point, 6 assist outing. He has also proved he can play with any guard in the country. This will be an interesting test for Jawun, as the Cats were ranked 13th in scoring defense heading into Saturday’s loss to Baylor. K-State is very good defensively, so Evans and the rest of the OSU backcourt will need to play well to beat a good Wildcats team.
OSU: Lindy Waters | KSU: Wesley Iwundu | Wild Card: DJ Johnson (KSU)
Oklahoma State: He was booed in Allen Fieldhouse as a freshman. That's enough to be my pick. And also because he's back and will be huge in offense.
Kansas State: Tied for team lead in steals and leads team in defensive rebounds, look for him to save them big time on defense.
Wild Card: Second leading scorer and a huge defensive influence. Could make a huge impact on both ends.
Opponent: Gracey Terrill
OSU: Mitchell Solomon | KSU: Dean Wade | Wild Card: Brad Underwood (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Solomon is coming off a career game against Kansas, and his performance is what first year Coach Underwood has been looking for this season. Not only was he dominant in the second half, Solomon looked at ease being the star of the show. With the Cowboys returning home to their own turf to celebrate the 1,000th game at Gallagher-Iba Arena, look for Solomon to perform well against Kansas State’s solid (and ranked 10th in the nation) defense. Predicting another double digit game for Solomon, the momentum will certainly be on Oklahoma State’s side.
Kansas State: Wade had an off game against Baylor on Saturday, this was not the usual performance for the 6’10 sophomore forward. With accolades from last year boasting his “Big 12 Newcomer of the Week,” Wade has been living up to his status as one of Weber’s most talented underclassmen. Expect for Wade to get back into the swing of things and keep up with his average points per game being in the double digits. The Cowboys rank 9th overall in the nation on defense so this should be a low scoring game overall for the Wildcats. Either way, look for Wade to get back in the swing of things and come out strong against Oklahoma State.
Wild Card: Underwood may not be a player but he is my wildcard pick for this game. Not only am I incredibly jealous of Oklahoma State hiring Underwood, I know what Coach Underwood brings to the team as far as their competitive edge. Coach Underwood’s passion for the game, patience and ability to bring out the talent from his players is unmatched in the Big 12. Yes, in a conference with coaches like Bill Self and Bob Huggins… I would rather have Brad Underwood.
Thanks again to Gracey for playing. Leave us your MVP picks in the comments below!