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Oklahoma State Preview

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If Oklahoma State can pull off the upset tonight, Kansas will  have lost 3 straight at two different Big 12 opponents. And it is certainly possible that the Cowboys can do it with how much Kansas has struggled there in recent years (though oddly enough they won at Stillwater when OSU had probably its best team of the last 5 years. Weird sport).

The current Cowboys team has been hampered by the loss of all big 12ish quality guard Phil Forte. Without one of the best shooters in the league, OSU is shooting just 33.5 percent from deep this season, and is taking just 31.1 percent of its shots behind the arc. With the Jayhawks shooting just 31.2 percent of its shots behind the arc (whyyyyyyyy) it could be a slugfest inside. The good news is that OSU is last in the Big 12 at allowing 3-point attempts and 239th in the entire country. Either the looks will be there or OSU will have to go to a look it doesn't want to in order to force Kansas to take it inside. Quick sidenote about Kansas: the Jayhawks are shooting 44.7 percent from three in conference play and 44.8 percent on twos. Please take more threes.

For the season, OSU has been a good defensive team, allowing opponents to shoot just 44 percent on twos, but that has gotten worse in Big 12 play. OSU has had a tough schedule so far, with its first 3 games coming against the 3 teams tied for first in the league, so their in conference stats should be taken with a grain of salt of course. Even so, OSU has been pretty good at both forcing turnovers and taking care of the ball, and with Kansas's sudden struggles in those areas, it might be tough to steal extra possessions.

Players to Watch

Jawun Evans is 23rd nationally in assist rate and has a turnover rate under 20 percent, something you don't really see with freshman guards. He's also shooting 45 percent from three (although in just 31 attempts) and has been reasonably good on twos (45 percent). Evans will be yet another challenge for the KU backcourt.

Jeffrey Carroll is shooting 64.4 percent on twos despite being just 6-6. He's taken the most threes on the team, which is good considering he is shooting just 29 percent behind the arc, but he has been deadly inside the arc. He is also the team's best defensive rebounder.

Anthony Allen has played in just about a third of the team's minutes this season, but bears mention due to being OSU's only 7 footer. The Cowboys are a pretty average team in terms of effective height, but small up front, as its tallest player who plays more than 20 mpg stands just 6-7. Allen will probably have to play more to keep Perry Ellis from going nuts down low, and he has been effective in his short minutes with a block percentage of 13 percent, or right in the neighborhood of what Mickelson and Diallo are doing this season.

The Pick

Even with KU's struggles in Stillwater, the Cowboys don't have the kind of firepower to score enough on a suddenly stingy Kansas defense, and don't have the size inside to keep the Jayhawks at bay. It will likely be a slugfest because it is a Big 12 road game, but I think eventually the Jayhawks will pull out a 77-69 win.