The No. 7 (!!!) Oklahoma Sooners, who are coming off another top-10 road win, host the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday night at what will most assuredly be a packed Lloyd Noble Center. And while Mike Boynton’s team may be a overmatched, don’t expect his guys to make it easy on the Sooners.
No. 7 Oklahoma (11-1) vs. Oklahoma State (10-3): 8 p.m. CT
Commentary: Clay Matvick and Tim Welsh
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: Oklahoma -9.5 (as of 11:30 a.m. CT)
About Oklahoma State
- The Cowboys are led by first-year head coach Mike Boynton, who took over for Brad Underwood following his defection to Illinois.
- Boynton’s team prides itself on toughness and defense, and his team is allowing only 67.2 points per contest this season.
- Oklahoma State lacks for quality depth, which is largely a result of the absence of expected contributors Davon Dillard and Zack Dawson, who were dismissed from the team last month.
- The Cowboys are led by forward Jeffery Carroll, who is averaging 15.5 points and 6.1 rebounds. Carroll missed the first three games of the season during an investigation of the program and came off the bench for six games after that. The 6’6” senior operates as a stretch 4 in Oklahoma State’s small lineup.
- After a tough loss to a very good Texas A&M team early in the season, the Cowboys have looked like a very solid basketball team. This group, went neck-and-neck with the Wichita State Shockers for a good chunk of the game and West Virginia Mountaineers down to the wire. They were also able to topple a top-25 Florida State team with a late Mitchell Solomon tip-in, so these guys aren’t backing down from a challenge.
- Dealing with OSU’s pressure - Oklahoma State's high-pressure defense is active in passing lanes and employs half-court traps in an effort to speed up opponents to create turnovers and bad shots. They’ve been successful in doing so, as the Cowboys are forcing 17.1 turnovers per game, which ranks 18th nationally. Luckily, Oklahoma is a team that moves the ball as successfully as any team in the country, so they should be able to avoid traps more often than most teams.
- Defensive rebounding - Oklahoma was able to fix this issue late in the game, but the Sooners struggled mightily on the glass for much of the afternoon against TCU. The Sooners allowed 20 (!!!) offensive rebounds, which obviously can’t happen again. The Cowboys don’t have the bigs that TCU has, but they do have a lot of quick players who give maximum effort for their coach, so OU will need to at least come close to matching that intensity when the Cowboys miss shots.
- Trae Young and the backcourt - Yes, Trae Young — the best player in the land. He’s now averaging 29.6 points per game and 10.7 assists per game, both of which lead the nation. John Calipari, who knows talent when he sees it, had plenty of nice things to say about him recently. His backcourt mates are also excelling as of late, as Young, Christian James and Kameron McGusty have combined for 59.4 points over the past five games. The trio is also 49-99 from deep during that span.
As I mentioned early, a team that moves the ball as effectively as Oklahoma should probably be able to minimize the negative impact that Oklahoma State’s pressure can inflict on an offense. I definitely think OSU’s effort will keep them in it for a decent period of time, but OU should pull it out by double digits. There’s just too much firepower on OU’s roster.
Oklahoma 90, Oklahoma State 77