On Saturday afternoon, Oklahoma State (10-9, 0-6) found itself notching a mark in the win column for the first time in almost a month(!), which is just as insane to type as I’m sure it is to read out loud. On Monday, the Cowboys will find themselves up against another top ranked opponent inside GIA, this time facing the Kansas Jayhawks (16-3, 5-1). Last week against Baylor, the Cowboys held a lead for most of the game and at times looked to be in control, despite being over-matched on paper. They eventually let it slip, going cold from the floor as the Bears hit one big shot after another. Can they finish the job this time around?
Who: No. 3 Kansas (16-3, 5-1)
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena | Stillwater, OK
When: 8 p.m. | Monday, Jan 27
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Live stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com
ESPN Favorite: Kansas (80.9%)
All-time series: Kansas leads 100-47
Tickets: StubHub as low as $7
The Jayhawks enter Monday night’s game at 16-3 on the season and riding a 4 game winning streak. Those three losses came against #8 Duke, #9 Villanova, and #1 Baylor, all legit top-ten teams with aspirations of making a deep tournament run. Kansas brings in a mature, battle tested squad led by Sophomore sensation Devon Dotson, who is averaging 18/4/4. Udoka Azubuike anchors them defensively and averages nearly a double-double. It will be very interesting to see who Coach Boynton assigns to guard him, as he is a massive 7-0, 270 lbs. That matchup will be key both defensively and regarding the rebounding battle.
In my opinion, the Cowboys best chance of success against Kansas is to pressure perimeter players and deny entry passes to Azubuike. If the Jayhawks are allowed to run their half-court offense without much interference, this game will get out of hand in a hurry. But if the Pokes can harass ball-handlers and play tight defensively (perhaps no more zone?), they might have a chance to keep it close.
Offensively, just hit open shots. It seems like players are getting good looks fairly consistently and are just struggling to put the ball through the hoop. Being at home should help, but if they’re unable to get hot from deep, Monday night could potentially have many wanting to change channels and check in on the Bachelor or something (people do watch that, yes?)
This game represents a chance to build on the momentum of Saturday’s victory and attempt to salvage what’s left of the 2019-20 campaign before Cade Cunningham and Co. arrive next year. The good news for Cowboys fans, help is most certainly on the way.