Kansas finally gets its first look at the Jawun Evans and Brad Underwood-less Oklahoma State Cowboys, who predictably have struggled in their first season without both.
Oklahoma State has a couple nice wins, most notably Oklahoma and Florida State, but overall it has been a bit of a slog. They also haven’t won a road game all season, and only have won twice away from their home floor.
Offensively, Oklahoma State has some talent, but unfortunately for them it mostly is in players who need help getting the ball, or help getting their shot off. That’s sort of a problem when they rank 10th in the league in assisting field goals. They’re scoring just 1.035 points per trip in Big 12 play, which ranks 7th in the league. They also don’t really have anything they excel in, ranking in the bottom half of the league in eFG, turnovers, offensive rebounding, 2-point shooting, and 3 point shooting. They also take the second fewest threes in the league.
Defensively, Oklahoma State ranks 9th, allowing 1.11 points per trip. It is fair to say, though, they’re getting a bit unlucky, as they allow the 3rd fewest 3-point attempts, but opponents are shooting 42 percent from deep. However, they’re allowing opponents to shoot just 46 percent inside the arc, which ranks 3rd in the league. That’s where the positives stop, however, as the Cowboys don’t force a ton of turnovers, allow a ton of offensive rebounds, and send teams to the line a ton (so expect a snide tweet from Doug Gottlieb about KU free throw attempts).
Players to Watch
Jeffrey Carroll, 6-6 senior wing
Carroll leads the team in shots, but his production without All-American point guard Jawun Evans has taken a tumble. He’s shooting just 46 percent on twos and under 33 percent from three, down from 59 percent and 44 percent last season. He’s still the biggest offensive threat on the team, however.
Mitchell Solomon, 6-9 senior forward
Solomon doesn’t shoot a ton, mostly scoring on putbacks and dump offs, but is shooting 69 percent inside the arc. He also is the best offensive rebounder on the team and a top 50 offensive rebounder in the country.
Lindy Waters, 6-6 sophomore wing
Waters shoots 58 percent on twos in Big 12 play, and has scored in double figures in each of the last four games.
Keys to the Game
- Fouls - Oklahoma State fouls a ton, so the Jayhawks will need to convert at the stripe. They will need to convert to win.
- Defensive rebounding - OSU hasn’t hit the glass a ton in Big 12 play, but they rank close to the top 50 nationally for the season. Solomon will also grab a couple. It will be the easiest way for them to score, so Kansas needs to keep them off the glass as best as possible.
- Threes - Oklahoma State has done a pretty good job of limiting 3-point attempts, and don’t take too many themselves.
Oklahoma State isn’t very good, and Kansas has been playing much better as of late. OSU can probably cause some problems on the offensive glass, and given KU’s off-ball defensive woes this season, Carroll will probably get a few open threes. If he buries them all the Jayhawks might be in trouble, but even so I am not terribly worried. I’ll say Kansas 84-75.