Coming off of their first conference win of the season on Saturday, the Cowboys now head to Manhattan, Kansas for a match-up with the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats come into this game at 11-4 (1-2 Big 12), coming off of a loss to No. 8 Texas Tech on Saturday. With both teams having similar records, this game will be a pivotal match-up, with the loser creeping closer to the bottom of the conference standings.
Where: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kansas
When: 7:00 PM CT
After beating Iowa State in their conference opener, Kansas State has lost two straight to West Virginia and Texas Tech. They come into this game averaging around 76 points per game, and shooting 47 percent as a team. The Wildcats are a solid defensive team as well, giving up only 65 points per game.
Offensively, the Wildcats’ leading scorer is Barry Brown, who averages 15.5 points per game. Dean Wade is another offensive threat, who can clean the glass as well, as he average 14.9 points and 6.7 rebounds a game. He can post up, but can also step outside and shoot threes, where he shoots 44 percent. They were dealt a blow this week with it announced that guard Kamau Stokes is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Stokes was averaging over 30 minutes per game 13.4 points per game. It is expected that Cartier Diarra will take his place.
Keys to Victory:
1) Avoid Turnovers
This seems simple, but Oklahoma State has the tendency to turn the ball over at a high rate in some games. Kansas State is in 30th in the nation in steals, averaging 8.3 per game. If Oklahoma State can control the clock and have solid offensive sets, they should be in good shape. Turnovers can change a game, especially on the road, so taking care of the ball is key.
2) Win the Rebounding Battle
On average this season, Oklahoma State out-rebounds Kansas State 38-32. If Oklahoma State can rebound on both the offensive and defensive ends, they can win. Mitchell Solomon and Yankuba Sima will be key factors in this game.
3) Keep the Momentum Going
Coming off of their first conference win, this game is huge to see how the team responds. This is a winnable game for Oklahoma State, they must go in to a tough environment on the road and play like the better team. I know Coach Boynton is going to prepare this team to have that mentality, they just need to show it from tip-off to the final buzzer.
These are two solid defensive teams, so it will come down to who can make a big run in the second half. If Oklahoma State can start scoring in bunches, they can win the game. They will play good enough defense to win the game, but they have to have success on the other side of the court as well. I think the Cowboys go into Manhattan and sneak out a tough win heading into another winnable game against Texas in the friendly confines of Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday.
Cowboys- 78 Wildcats- 71