Oklahoma State’s men’s basketball team hosts West Virginia tonight on Big Monday to kick off the Big 12 portion of its schedule at home. The Cowboys suffered a loss in their Big 12 opener against Texas Tech in Lubbock last weekend. This is just a quick preview of each remaining home game before fans start making their way to Gallagher- Iba Arena for Big 12 games.
West Virginia: Monday, Jan. 6
Tonight! Yes, tonight! Oklahoma State faces No. 17 West Virginia to begin Big 12 play at Gallagher- Iba Arena. The Mountaineers are 11-2 and boast a win over Ohio State. West Virginia dropped its Big 12 opener to Kansas 60-53 but the Mountaineers might not lose many more Big 12 games.
Oscar Tshiebwe leads the Mountaineers in scoring at 12.2 points per game. Derek Culver averages 10.5 points per game and Jermaine Haley adds 9.8 points per game. Miles McBride averages 9.2 points per game to give the Mountaineers four players averaging more than nine a game and Emmitt Matthews Jr. averages 8.8 points per game. Simply put, this Mountaineers squad is deep and a deep run in March Madness could be in the fold for West Virginia as well.
Watch out for Tshiebwe tonight. The 6-foot-9 big man roams the paint, blocking 1.2 shots per game and hauling nearly 10 rebounds a game. Yor Anei will have his hands full with Tshiebwe tonight and Oklahoma State won’t have much of a chance in this one if Anei doesn’t have a good game.
@TCU: Saturday, Jan. 11
TCU is 10-3 and won its first Big 12 game at home against Iowa State in overtime. This Horned Frogs didn’t have a big non-conference win but did play a good USC team close and lost 80-78.
TCU returned three players from last season that played heavy minutes and the scoring averages reflect that. Desmond Bane leads the team in scoring at 17 ppg. R.J. Nembhard follows with 13.6 ppg. Kevin Samuel averages 11.7 ppg and shoots 70 percent from the field. Edric Dennis and Jaire Grayer each average just more than eight ppg.
I went to high school with Nembhard and I have watched him play for the last seven years. I was always impressed with how much he added to his game year after year. I watched R.J. struggle from the field last year and it’s clear he worked on his jumper over the summer. While there is still room for improvement, Nembhard is a guy who can go out and win TCU a game on any given night.
The Horned Frogs will need Nembhard and Bane to have a good night to win games in this league. R.J. dropped a career high 31 points against Iowa State while Bane and Samuel added 16 apiece. That is the blueprint for TCU this season. Stop one or two of those guys and TCU will struggle to stay in games.
Remaining Home Schedule:
Texas: Wednesday, Jan. 15
Texas is 10-3 and defeated a ranked Purdue team back at the start of the season. The Horns dropped their Big 12 opener to No. 6 Baylor 59-44. Texas has wins over Purdue and Texas A&M but dropped a game against Georgetown 82-66.
Texas features five scoring threats on offense but doesn’t get much contribution from the rest of the roster. Four of those five players average in double figures. Matt Coleman III leads the way at 12.3 ppg and 4.5 assists per game. Andrew Jones follows with 11.3 ppg. Many will remember Jones from when he was diagnosed with Leukemia following his freshman season at Texas. He’s back and contributing at a high level for the Horns. Another player many OSU fans might remember is Courtney Ramey. The guard was highly recruited by Oklahoma State before choosing Texas. He averages 10.9 ppg for Texas and Jase Febres averages 10.2 ppg. Jericho Sims adds 9.2 ppg.
If Oklahoma State can keep the starters in check, the Texas bench doesn’t inspire much confidence. Texas has struggled under coach Shaka Smart in recent years and Oklahoma State will have more than a fair chance to win both games against Texas this season.
Baylor: Saturday, Jan. 18
Baylor is currently the fourth ranked team in the nation, and for good reason. The Bears have wins over Villanova, Arizona and Butler. They started Big 12 play off with a win over Texas and have an 11-1 record overall. Baylor has a big showdown at Texas Tech tomorrow night on ESPN2.
Guard play has been the driving force behind the Baylor offense so far this season. Jared Butler averages 17.3 ppg and 3 apg. MaCio Teague averages 15.2 ppg and Davion Mitchell adds 9.3 ppg. All three players are guards. The only big man that plays heavy minutes is Freddie Gillespie, who averages 8.7 points in 26.8 minutes per game. Tristan Clark plays 17.5 minutes a night but has only appeared in eight games due to lingering knee issues from last season.
Baylor will be a tough team to take down and Oklahoma State will need to force Baylor to match up. If Clark can’t go, OSU could take advantage down low with Cam McGriff and Yor Anei.
Kansas: Monday, Jan. 27
Kansas currently has an 11-2 record with both losses coming to ranked teams. The Jayhawks dropped their season opener against Duke 68-66, the same night Cade Cunningham committed to Oklahoma State. The other loss came against Villanova 56-55. Kansas defeated a ranked West Virginia squad in its Big 12 opener 60-53.
This team is led by many of the same stars from last year. Devon Dotson leads the team in scoring at 18.5 ppg and 4.4 apg. Udoka Azubuike averages 13.3 ppg and 8.9 rebounds per game. He takes most of his shots in the paint and shoots over 81 percent from the field. Ochai Agbaji averages 11.2 ppg. Marcus Garrett chips in 9.2 ppg.
This Kansas team is deep and will be tough to beat just like most every other year. Azubuike is always a pain to game plan for and Agbaji spaces the floor, shooting 37.9 percent from three. As mentioned, Dotson is the floor general and leads the team in scoring and assists.
Texas Tech: Saturday, Feb. 15
Oklahoma State opened Big 12 play on the road against Texas Tech and the Pokes can only hope that round two will go better than round one did. Texas Tech defeated OSU 85-50 to improve to 10-3 on the season. The Red Raiders beat a formerly No. 1 ranked team in Louisville 70-57 earlier this season. Texas Tech has looked good outside of a three game losing streak when it was without leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey.
Ramsey is a freshman out of Duncanville, Texas, and averages 17.4 ppg for the Red Raiders. Davide Morreti averages 13.2 ppg and Terrance Shannon Jr. adds 12.2 ppg. Kyler Edwards averages 10.7 ppg and TJ Holyfield gives the Red Raiders a fifth player in double figures with 10.1 ppg. Those five along with Chris Clarke (7.1 ppg) average heavy minutes for Texas Tech. Clarke leads Texas Tech in assists and rebounds per game.
As the Red Raiders proved last weekend, they will be a tough team to beat in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State will likely lose its next matchup with Texas Tech and will need to score a lot to win. It’s one thing to hold one player down, but it is much harder when a team can put five guys on the floor that can all score the basketball.
Oklahoma: Saturday Feb. 22
The Sooners are 10-3 to start the season and didn’t have a particularly impressive non-conference win. Oklahoma did start off Big 12 play on the right foot with a win over Kansas State.
Kristian Doolittle leads Oklahoma in scoring with 16.9 ppg and in rebounds with 9.2 rpg. Austin Reaves averages 16.6 ppg and Brady Manek adds 14.9 ppg. Those three are the only double figure scorers for Oklahoma. Freshman De’Vion Harmon averages 7.9 ppg. Jamal Bieniemy averages just 4.5 ppg on 27.6 percent shooting, though his scoring averages could rise with better performances from the field.
Oklahoma’s roster is constructed similarly to TCU’s in terms of scoring. The Sooners returned a few experienced starters and those guys lead Oklahoma in scoring. If they can get help from some younger players, OU would be harder to beat. Right now, all OSU needs to do is limit Doolittle and Reaves and let the younger players launch.
Iowa State: Saturday Feb. 29
The Cyclones are off to a slow start with just a 7-6 record. It would take a really good conference record for Iowa State to make it to the the NCAA tournament. That isn’t looking promising either after Iowa State dropped a game to TCU to start Big 12 play. The Cyclones split games with a ranked Seton Hall team in non-conference.
Iowa State averages 80.2 ppg but has had troubles on the defensive end. Tyrese Haliburton leads ISU in scoring and assists with 17.7 ppg and 7.9 apg. Rasir Bolton averages 14.8 ppg and George Conditt IV adds 10.5 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Prentiss Nixon averages 9.8 ppg and Solomon Young chips in 9.2 ppg.
The Cyclones have plenty of weapons on offense but they bleed buckets on the defensive end. If Oklahoma State can limit Iowa State on offense, the Cowboys should have a pretty good shot to win two games against the Cyclones this season.
Kansas State: Wednesday, Mar. 4
Kansas State is off to a 7-6 start as well. It should be two home wins to close out the season for Oklahoma State, though there is still plenty of time this season for both Kansas State and Iowa State to turn things around. Kansas State dropped its Big 12 opener to Oklahoma.
The Wildcats are led by three players that many Big 12 fans are familiar with. There isn’t much depth past those three guys though. Xavier Sneed leads Kansas State in scoring with 15 ppg and Cartier Diarra follows with 12.5 ppg. Makol Maiwien averages 7.8 ppg. The Wildcats will need another willing scorer to step up and join Sneed and Diarra as KSU only averages 66.3 ppg.
If one of Sneed or Diarra is held in check in a game this season, Kansas State won’t have a good chance to win. This league is deep and only having two guys who can score the basketball is a major hinderance.