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PREVIEW: Kansas State vs. Oklahoma State

Can the Cowboys keep rolling in the Little Apple?

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

In the last matchup, the Wildcats handed the Cowboys their sixth straight conference loss. Now, the Cowboys are the hottest team in college basketball and are looking to avenge their earlier loss and go 9-1 in their last 10 games, as well as get above .500 in conference play for the first time since Jan. 2, 2016 when they defeated TCU in the first conference game last year.

Here are the quick hits for tonight’s contest with the Kansas State Wildcats.


Cowboys (18-9, 7-7 Big 12) vs. Wildcats (17-10, 6-8 Big 12)

Time: 8:00 p.m. CST

Location: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS

TV: ESPNU

Radio: Cowboy Radio Network

Stream: WatchESPN.com (requires provider login)

Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com


The Opponent

The Wildcats have been on a bit of a downward spiral since last defeating the Cowboys, going 3-6 including falling in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to Tennessee. Don’t count them out though, as Joe “Mr. Bracketology” Lunardi still has them as an 11 seed in the latest March Madness prediction.

The Wildcats have given nearly every team a run for their money, only getting blown out by double digits by Tennessee and West Virginia (the second time).


Player to Watch

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Last time out, Iwundu was the statistical leader of the team, scoring 15 points, securing eight rebounds and dishing eight assists. The senior forward is the leader of this team, and has been the leading rebounder in the last five games, and has scored double digits in the last 10 games for the Wildcats.


Three Big Things

1. Take care of the ball.

The Wildcats are one of the best teams in the nation at forcing turnovers. Kansas State is 16th in the nation in steals per game, swiping 8.3 per game. The Cowboys turn the ball over 13.5 times per game. Jawun Evans and the rest of the Cowboys need to keep the turnovers low and not give away possessions. It is hard enough to win on the road (am I right or am I right Texas football?), and the Cowboys don’t need to give Kansas State any help.

2. Take smart shots.

Oklahoma State is a 3-point-shooting team. I get that. They have shot almost 600 this season, and are making 40.5 percent of those shots, which is good enough for 13th best in the nation. But don’t fall in love with it. If the shots aren’t falling, don’t just keep throwing up shots hoping eventually they will fall. The stats say they eventually will, but will it be too late by then? The Cowboys have had a good mixture of deep shots and drives. I want to see that smart shot management out of Brad Underwood’s squad.

3. Don’t lay an egg.

Would losing to Kansas State really kill our tournament hopes? Probably not. They will likely be a tournament team themselves. But why even give the committee a shadow of a doubt about Oklahoma State as a tournament team? A lot of teams will rest their players as the season winds down in an effort to rest them and avoid injuries. As much as I understand that, I hate it. I have never wished an injury on anybody and never will, but I would hate to lose games and lose momentum by resting key players and essentially giving away games. I realize it is probably a little early to be ranting about this, but we are coming up to that time of the year, and I just do not want to see it.