Getting to know: Oklahoma State basketball
Now back on top of the college basketball world, Kansas will return home with a chance for an easy win.
Two days after defeating previously top-ranked Baylor on the road, No. 1 Kansas is back in action against Oklahoma State for another Big Monday matchup. If you need proof of how the Jayhawks have become the team to beat in college basketball, just look at tonight's betting line set by Vegas.
Oklahoma State (14-13, 4-10 Big 12) has won three of its last four games, and has only dropped one game by more than 13 points this month. Yet the Jayhawks (24-3, 13-1 Big 12) are considered a 14.5-point favorite on FanDuel’s Sportsbook as of Monday morning.
KenPom gives Kansas a 94% chance of victory, projecting a score of 74-58 in KU’s favor. Torvik projects the Jayhawks to earn a 74-59 win. It is not too far off from how the first meeting went, with Kansas securing a 65-50 road victory over OSU on Jan. 27.
Last time out, Oklahoma State rolled to a 17-point victory over rival Oklahoma to capture its largest win over OU since 2010. After dropping its first eight Big 12 games, the Cowboys have now won four of their last six games and each of their last three home contests.
The Kansas-Oklahoma State series dates back to 1926 with KU holding a 117-59 all-time advantage. KU holds a 7-4 edge in the last 11 meetings. KU is 63-12 against OSU in meetings in Lawrence, including a 48-10 record in Allen Fieldhouse.
Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.
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BREAKING DOWN OKLAHOMA STATE
No. 13 — G Isaac Likekele | 6-4, 215, so.
There is nobody that makes an impact quite like Likekele when he’s playing at his best.
Likekele can find ways to contribute for the Cowboys as a scorer, rebounder and facilitator. He’s averaging 10.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. In fact, he’s the only active Big 12 player with an average of at least 4.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 5.2 rebounds per contest.
So far this season, Likekele leads OSU in plus/minus with a +100 margin on the year. He has scored in double figures in 15 of his 23 games this year, which includes a 26-point performance against Syracuse in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
No. 21 — G Lindy Waters III | 6-6, 210, sr.
Waters, who is wearing a protective mask to protect a broken bone in his nasal passage, is expected to make his 100th career start on Monday night. It is a milestone only 11 other Cowboys have ever reached.
In addition, Waters is just the 16th OSU player to reach 1,000-points, 200-assists and 100-steals in program history. Marcus Smart and Markel Brown in 2014 were the last to join that exclusive list.
This season, Waters is averaging 10.8 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per outing and 2.3 assists per contest. Waters, who is a captain for the Cowboys, is shooting 31.8% from long range as well.
No. 12 — F Cameron McGriff | 6-7, 220, sr.
Coming off a 28-point performance against OU, McGriff will look to have another strong game against KU.
McGriff has a history of playing well against the Jayhawks. McGriff has four career games of 18 points or more against KU, and is averaging 15.2 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor over the last six meetings dating back to his sophomore season.
The senior forward is the only Cowboy to have started every game this season. He has started 72 consecutive games for OSU, which is tied for the 14th-longest streak in school history. McGriff averaging 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his final campaign.
MEET THE COACH
OSU is coached by Mike Boynton, who is 47-48 in his third season at OSU and third as a head coach.
ONE THING OSU IS GOOD AT
Oklahoma State isn’t great at a lot of things, but ranking top-50 in 3-point defense is worth mentioning given the large spread. Opposing teams are shooting 30.5% from long range against OSU this season.
ONE THING OSU IS BAD AT
The Cowboys struggle to hit shots on the offensive end at times. This season, Oklahoma State is shooting 46.7% on 2-pointers and 30.9% on 3-point attempts. According to KenPom, both those numbers rank 283rd and 286th, respectively.
This is not a game I feel very confident in picking, to be honest. KenPom’s projection suggests Kansas will cover, but it would make sense if this game is closer with it taking place just two days after KU’s big win over Baylor. The players are surely mentally and physically exhausted.
In the end, it is hard to trust Oklahoma State’s offense enough against this Kansas defense. I’m picking the Jayhawks to cover the spread for the sixth game in a row, even if it means sweating the pick out in the final minute during walk-on time.
Prediction: Kansas 75, Oklahoma State 60
This year’s record ATS: 16-10