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Kansas

at

Oklahoma State

College Basketball

Pick

3/4/17

Another season and another title for Kansas, which comes into this game three wins ahead of second-place Iowa State. While the Jayhawks haven't been dominant, they keep winning and almost always seems to pull out a win if it's close. On Monday they were down 12 points at home and then went on an incredible run that eventually ended in a 10-point win. But this isn't Lawrence and the seniors already said goodbye. Motivation for the Jayhawks won't be as high, while the opposite can be said of Oklahoma State, still looking to take down the untouchable Kansas.

The Jayhawks have only lost one true road game all season, but looking back, have lost their last three season finales on the road and this falls into that category. And while OK State has 10 losses, this isn't a team to take lightly. The Cowboys have won 10 of their last 12 games and a lot of those have come on the road. But the problem is that they haven't exactly beaten the elite teams at home this season, falling to West Virginia, Iowa State and Baylor.

When these teams met in mid-January, OK State kept it close the entire way, leading for a good portion and the entire first half. But per usual, Kansas came through at the end for an 87-80 win. The difference had to be the free-throw discrepancy with KU going 30-of-45 from the line as OK State had 16 more fouls than Kansas. Some of those came in the final minute, but not all, and now playing on the road, the Jayhawks won't get those same kinds of calls.

These teams aren't much different overall. Kansas has Frank Mason, Devonte' Graham and Josh Jackson leading the way, while Oklahoma State has Jawun Evans, Phil Forte and Jeffrey Carroll. The difference is that Carroll isn't as consistent and Forte is almost exclusively a shooter. While Evans is one of the best players in the Big 12, averaging 18.6 points and 6.0 assists per game, his supporting cast doesn't help as much. And to beat the Jayhawks, you need to have a total team effort, although Evans going for 30 points wouldn't hurt.

Another reason for OK State's losses is that its defense hasn't been very good and ranks as the least efficient one in the conference. There's a reason Kansas attacked the paint so much last meeting because Leyton Hammonds and Mitchell Solomon are not rim protectors. While not having size isn't an issue against Kansas because they roll with Landen Lucas and Carlton Bragg down low, when you can't stop guys like Mason and Jackson from getting easy looks at the hoop, it's not easy to win.

For anyone backing the Cowboys, the thought is that Kansas will take its foot off the pedal as seen in the past and that Senior Night will be enough for guys like Forte and Hammonds to come through. And when Forte hits his shots, this team is hard to beat, but he didn't do that in the first game. Of course, it can't be forgotten that OK State dominated this matchup at home last season even with a much worse team. The Cowboys have a good shot to win, but it's going to take better defense late in the game and the hope that Evans can do his thing.

Our Pick - Kansas pk

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