Pick – Analysis
Both of these teams are in need of a win after shaky stretches in Conference play. Oklahoma State has lost Four of six Games, while Texas has lost three straight. Neither one of these teams has a great non-Conference win and are surviving at this point due to the perceived strength of the Big 12.
The Longhorns are in a hole, but a lot of that is due to their recent Schedule. After facing Four ranked teams in their last five Games, Texas gets Four straight unranked opponents, with three of them coming at home. In a couple weeks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Texas back in the top 20 with Four straight wins and the media labeling them as the team to watch in the conference. It starts with this Game.
Despite winning in the first matchup, Oklahoma State has more of a ways to go, especially if they want to be a part of March Madness. The Cowboys are not a good road team and haven’t won away from home yet in Conference play. They are 1-4 on the season with the loan win coming at AAC team Memphis. In addition, they just lost their first home Game in Big 12 play against Oklahoma this past weekend.
The Cowboys took the first meeting between these teams 69-58, while shooting 9-of-17 from downtown in the process. As for the Longhorns, they shot 34.4% from the field and Jonathan Holmes had one of the worst Games of his career going 0-for-10 with zero points.
While OK State is weaker on the road, Texas hasn’t really shown much home-cOurt advantage this season. They have home losses to Stanford, Oklahoma and Kansas. On the other end of that, they have a 27-point win over West Virginia following a two-Game losing streak. Texas needs to figure out a way to use size to their advantage because that’s what Oklahoma State lacks. The Cowboys’ leading rebounder in the last meeting was 5’11” Anthony Hickey who recorded nine boards.
Myles Turner had a great Game last time around (18 points), but Cameron Ridley and Jonathan Holmes need to take advantage of their size and strength. And of course the backcOurt duo of Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix can’t shoot 6-of-22 from the field. Those two were easily outplayed by OK State’s Phil Forte, who finished with 20 points.
For Oklahoma State to get the upset, they’ll need a similar output from Phil Forte and Anthony Hickey, but also their best scorer Le’Bryan Nash. Nash had 20 points in that first Game and owned the Texas forwards throughout despite not recording a rebound.
The Cowboys still lack consistency and for them to put it together on the road is a big ask. If Forte and Nash don’t hit more than 50% of their shots again, they’ll already be in a hole in addition to playing on the road.
The Longhorns have struggled, but with their backs against the wall coming off three losses, have showed up in similar situations. The difference in this Game will be the play of Isaiah Taylor, who has been Texas’ best player of recent after struggling in his return from injury.
Our Pick – Texas by 9