TOP RATED PLAY ON:
Oklahoma St -3
Both of these teams are on a slide right now…Kansas St has lost 3 of their last 4 games, while Oklahoma St has now lost 5 straight…So, this is a very important game for both teams to try and get the win.
These two teams possess different strengths and weaknesses between them…So, this one will come down to which team can impose their strengths, while exploiting their opponents weaknesses…I am on the Cowboys, so obviously I am expecting that they will be the ones doing the imposing and exploiting today…Below are the areas I see them having the Edge in doing that….Enjoy!
EDGE #1:…The Cowboys should dominate the boards.
One area of weaknesses for this Wildcat team is in rebounding, where they are ranked 253rd in the nation…Whereas Oklahoma St, on the other hand, ranks 60th overall in the nation in rebounding, averaging 38.6 rpg.
The big area of strength for the Cowboys though, is Offensive Rebounding, where they are ranked 6th in the nation averaging 15.5 offensive boards per game…They also rank 8th in offensive rebound percentage at 39.4%, with 4 players who are top 500 in the stat…This is a true team effort, as not one player on the team ranks inside the top 100 in the nation in offensive rebounds.
Side Note: The Cowboys have grabbed 15+ offensive rebounds in 10 games this season, including 7 of the last 11 games.
The Cowboys strength in offensive rebounding plays perfectly into the weakness of the Wildcats, which is defensive rebounding, where they have worse than NCAA average rebounding numbers…despite playing one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the nation…Currently, KenPom ranks the Wildcats 253rd in allowing offensive rebounds.
What this means, is that Oklahoma St should continue their domination of the offensive boards, which thus gives them more shots opportunities, a better chance of scoring points, and therefore, of winning the game.
One strategy I feel will be in play here, is the Cowboys going right at Kansas St’s 6’9” forward Johnson who leads the conference in shooting percentage at 62.8% and whose interior scoring is crucial for Kansas St, in the hopes of getting him in foul trouble, which he at times is prone to do.
The Cowboys know they let that Kansas game slip away from them in the 2nd half, as the Jayhawks came out and out worked them on the boards, leading to several 2nd chance points…Because of that, you can expect the Cowboys to be crashing the boards hard, all night long.
EDGE #2:…..The Cowboys can drain da Bombs.
Another area of weakness for the Wildcats is their 3pt FG% defense, where they are currently ranked last in the conference, allowing 43.0% shooting from long range…This is not good, as the Cowboys take slightly more 3 pt shots than average and still make 38% of them, which ranks 55th in the nation.
In addition, this Cowboys team is loaded with players who can drain the bombs at a solid clip…In fact, here are the Cowboys long range bombers average 3pt FG%…Evans 44.7%, Carroll 42.9%, Forte 38.6%, Waters 37.1%, Averette 50.0%, Dziaqwa 44.9% and McGriff 38.5%.
Guard Phil Forte, guard Jeffrey Carroll and guard Jawun Evans logs the most minutes in games, so they all have to be respected on the perimeter at all times.
Side Note: Guard Forte, leads the nation in FT% with his 96.2% shooting at the line…And in conference play, he is currently leading all Big 12 players with 3.4 three-point shots made per game, and his 48.6% shooting from long range ranks 3rd….In addition, he has averaged at least two 3 pointers in every conference game so far this season.
Kansas St struggles with spot-up defense…and per Synergy’s logs, they rank in the 13th percentile on spot-ups allowing 1.01 points per possession…Some of Oklahoma St’s solid scoring are the result of spot-up shooting, so expect the Wildcats to be actively looking for open 3 pt shot opportunities, as scouting reports say they’re the best way to score on the Wildcats.
EDGE #3:…..The Cowboys are great at forcing turnovers.
Another area of weakness for the Wildcats is their carelessness at taking care of the ball…Currently, the Wildcats are ranked 174th in offensive turnover rate…Their carelessness, again plays right into the strengths of the Cowboys defense and that is forcing turnovers.
One of the main reasons why the Cowboys offense is ranked 2nd in the Big 12 and 8th in the nation in scoring at 88.1 ppg…is due in part to their high-pressure defense that they impose on opponents…This pressure defense has led to the Cowboys averaging 9 steals per game, which ranks 11th in the nation…And also in total turnovers forced at 17.88 per game, which ranks them 3rd in the nation.
Side Note: The Cowboys high-pressure defense has forced every opponent to commit at least 10 turnovers.
Side Note: According to KenPom, Oklahoma St is holding opponents to an average possession of just 15.3 seconds – the shortest in the country – and they rank 14th in turnover percentage with a mark of 23.1.
With Kansas St’s proneness to turning the ball over along with Oklahoma St’s pressure defense creating turnovers, this looks like an opportunity for Oklahoma St’s transition offense…More than 1/3rd of Oklahoma St’s initial shots are in transition (ranked 16th nationally)…and although they don’t shoot as well as other teams like Kansas, in those situations, they still rank 84th in shooting % during fast breaks.
Oklahoma St’s active backcourt could have another solid game, as opportunities for steals should be there for the taking.
OTHER EDGES:….Some information & facts you may not have known.
*Oklahoma St is much better than their 0-5 conference record…The Cowboys have played one of the toughest conference schedules, starting the regular season with 3 of their first 5 games on the road…Where they lost 3 close games at Texas, at Baylor and at Kansas.
*Oklahoma St’s No. 33 spot in KenPom is higher than Minnesota, Michigan State and Michigan and also right behind TCU, which gave Kansas a competitive game a couple weeks ago in Fort Worth.
*Oklahoma St possess 3 of the Top 15 scorers in the Big 12, including sophomore Jawun Evans (18.2 ppg.), junior Jeffrey Carroll (16.8 ppg.) and senior Phil Forte (13.8 ppg.).
*Kansas St has just two wins against teams with winning records this season (Green Bay and Colorado State), but no wins against teams in the top 100 of the Rating Percentage Index (RPI).
*Kansas St can’t seem to buy a win on the road, losing both conference games by two points or less, on some shady bad calls…But, the Wildcats are not a good road team, as they have just four Big 12 road wins in the last 3 seasons.
*Number to watch in this game is 70 points….If Kansas St can keep Oklahoma St to under 70 points, they are 81-24…But, they are 11-34 when opponents scores 70+ points.
*Kansas St’s forward and 3rd leading scorer, Iwundu, has been off in Kansas St’s last two games…After starting conference play with 16 or more points in his first three games, he has made just 3 of 16 shots in his last two games for a total of 15 points.
*Coach Weber is 0-4 at Gallagher-Iba Arena…Kansas St has not won there since 2012.
*Per Statfox…The average power rating of opponents played: KANSAS ST 74.7, OKLAHOMA ST 77.9
Bottom line is each of the Cowboys last 4 games they lost, have been all one-possession games inside of the last 5 minutes…And, all 4 of the Cowboys opponents combined to shoot 63.6% from the floor in those final 5 minutes…Also, 5 of the Cowboys 7 losses this season were one-possession games in the last 5 minutes…What does that tell you?…Well, it tells me that the Cowboys has been playing much better than their current record reflects.
Now, what does Kansas St’s 13-4 record tell you, after finding out that they have just two wins against teams with winning records this season (Green Bay and Colorado State), but no wins against teams in the top 100 of the Rating Percentage Index (RPI).
Kansas St is not a good road team, as they have only 4 conference road wins in the last 3 seasons…In addition, the Wildcats also seem to be having trouble scoring in recent games….which is not a good thing when on the road against a very potent offensive team.
And lastly, I cannot forget to mention that today’s game marks the 1,000th Cowboy basketball game in historic Gallagher-Iba Arena…Or as some call it, the “Madison Square Garden of the Plains”…It should be a special night and the atmosphere should be full of energy as the Cowboys fans know that their team has won the last 4 games against the Wildcats in Stillwater…and they are hungry and excited to get that first conference win tonight….So with that said…..GO COWBOYS!
Side Note: Kansas St is 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games vs teams with a winning record.
Side Note: Kansas St is 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 games vs Big 12 opponents.
Side Note: Oklahoma St is 13-5-1 ATS in their last 19 games played on Wednesday.
Side Note: The favorite has covered the point spread in 10 of the last 12 between these 2 teams.