Oklahoma State welcomes the Texas Longhorns into Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday for a pivotal Big 12 showdown. The Cowboys saw its five-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday at the hands of #6 Baylor. The Longhorns are coming off a nice upset win over Iowa State.
The Cowboys will look to get back on track this afternoon in front of what is expected to be a near-sellout capacity crowd in Stillwater.
Let’s look at the quick hits for today’s matchup against the Texas Longhorns.
Texas Longhorns (10-14, 4-7) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (15-9, 4-7)
Time: 3:00 PM CST
Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Ok.
Line: OKST -12
Stream: WatchESPN (Requires provider login)
Oklahoma State live stats broadcast: Here
The Longhorns have had a disappointing season, by most accounts. Shaka Smart is now in his second season as the head coach, and the ‘Horns are still struggling. They come in to today’s game with a 10-14 overall record, which is second worst in the Big 12.
Offensively, the Longhorns struggle to get role players involved. Jarrett Allen, the former 5-star recruit, is their best option on the offensive end of the floor. After struggling early on in his freshman season, Allen has come into his own a bit. He’s currently averaging almost 13 points and eight rebounds per game.
They’ve lost 14 games this season, but the best win so far for the Longhorns actually came against the Cowboys back on January 4th. In that game, sophomore guard Tevin Mack dropped a cool 27 points on the Cowboys. This time around, Mack won’t even be playing, and hasn’t played for the last five games. The ‘Horns will have to look elsewhere for offensive production, and they’ll probably need someone to come up with a similar output in order to topple the Pokes in Stillwater.
Players to Watch
You’ll hear a ton about this kid today. As it stands right now, he’s been the main piece for Texas on offense. He’s currently averaging nearly 13 a game to go along with eight rebounds. In the last meeting between these teams, Allen had eight points but pulled down 11 rebounds. Lately, he’s been a walking double-double. He went through a three-game streak of double-doubles, and has recently missed three double-doubles by a single rebound. He’s very capable on the offensive end, having dropped 15 points or more 11 times this season. The Cowboys will have to find an answer for him, or they could be in for another Motley-esque interior demolition this afternoon.
Jones, a 6’4” Freshman guard, has really come into his own on the offensive end of the floor lately. The first time around, he dropped ten points against the Cowboys, but only pulled down four rebounds. In five of the last eight games, Jones has scored 15 or more. He’s more than capable on the offensive end, but can be contained. Expect to see him on the floor for at least 30 minutes today.
Keys to the Game:
- Don’t let Jarrett Allen become Johnathan Motley. On Wednesday, Motley absolutely destroyed the interior defense for Oklahoma State. Motley dropped 24 points and hauled in 11 boards. Allen is capable of the same kind of game, but as a freshman, it’s not likely. The first time around, the Cowboys held Allen in check for most of the game, limiting him to eight points and 11 boards. I’m sure the Cowboys would be more than fine if they allowed a similar output today.
- Clean up the glass. This piggy-backs off of my first point, but this is something that Brad Underwood constantly harps on. OSU is at its best in transition, and one-and-done offensive possessions for Texas are going to be key for Oklahoma State today. If they can get out and run, and limit Allen’s ability to protect the rim, they will be just fine.
- Win the game that you’re supposed to win. Oklahoma State was given an 84 percent chance to win this game today, and they’re 12-point favorites for a reason. Texas is talented, but they’re young and tend to turn the ball over a lot. The Cowboys should be playing this game in front of a near-capacity crowd, and they should be able to take care of business against an inferior Texas team.
This is OSU’s most important game of the year. I say that because it is one they absolutely can not afford to lose. They dropped the first one against the Longhorns, and it is still the worst loss on OSU’s resume. That being said, I get the feeling that the late-game heroics against Baylor will propel this team for a final run down the stretch. Today, they get a young team on their home court, and they should be able to handle the challenge.
Jawun Evans and Jeffrey Carroll will be too much for the ‘Horns young guards, and Big Mitch Solomon holds his own against Jarrett Allen. Give me the Pokes in this one.
OSU 77, Texas 63