Pick with Analysis
Kansas was the team to beat in the Big 12 a decade ago and they still are. A lot of people thought the Jayhawks would fall off this season, but they just keep churning out wins at the top of the standings.
It hasn’t been as easy for Oklahoma State, but they just pulled off a surprising road win at Texas. Another win here would be nice, but they’ll have to play even better than Wednesday’s Game. They are teetering on the edge of bracket predictions right now (although the Texas win was a nice boost) and their Schedule isn’t getting easier. After this, they travel to Baylor and TCU and then host Iowa State and Wets Virginia. If the Cowboys can’t get another big win, they’ll be looking at the NIT in a month.
Kansas is playing their best basketball of the year right now and that’s all you could ask for as a fan. They have five straight wins, all of them fairly convincing: two at home against Oklahoma and Iowa State and a couple at Texas and TCU. Playing on the road has not been a major issue for the Jayhawks, outside of the loss at Iowa State, but that is to be expected.
In the first matchup between these teams, Kansas won 67-57, with a ridiculous 54 of those points coming from the free-throw line. There were 49 fouls called in the Game, 29 on Oklahoma State. The Cowboys shot 22-of-25 from the line, which is the only reason why they stayed in the Game after shooting 31.4% from the field and 18.8% from deep. Kansas didn’t play great in that Game either, but they dominated the battle of the boards by 17, which was the eventual difference.
One would have to think Perry Ellis will play better in this Game after shooting 1-for-8 in the first meeting and the same can be said for Wayne Selden. Oklahoma State doesn’t present an overwhelming defense, so it’s safe to say Ellis should have a better Game Frank Mason will get his and you never know when Cliff Alexander will go off. As a freshman, he’s a mostly energy type of player, that plays inconsistently, but he has the size to make a difference.
The Cowboys need someone else to step up outside of Le’Bryan Nash and Phil Forte. Those two combined for 39 points in the first Game and no one else really did anything, with three points coming from the bench. Anthony Hickey can be a difference maker against the right team with his speed, but he did nothing in the first meeting.
Kansas has the length and quickness to deal with Nash and they’ll focus on Forte on the outside. And that’s been Oklahoma State’s problem in Conference play. Hickey isn’t a guy that will consistently score, and neither Michael Cobbins nor Jeff Newberry is going to break out for a big Game.
against a balanced team like Kansas, with solid players off the bench, Oklahoma State will need a special Game from Nash or Forte to have a shot. The Cowboys need to scrape together some wins, but getting one here may not be their best chance.
Our Prediction – Kansas by 6