NCAA Monday Night Basketball: Kansas/Oklahoma State Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Big Monday ESPN doubleheader concludes at 9 PM ET in a battle between two Big 12 teams, with Oklahoma State traveling to Lawrence to play Kansas.

Oklahoma State won their third game in four contests on Saturday in a 75-67 upset win in double-overtime at home against Texas as a 1.5-point underdog. Cade Cunningham scored five of his 19 points in the second overtime to lead the Cowboys to the victory. The freshman phenom leads the team with an 18.2 points-per-game scoring average. The 6’8 freshman point guard might be the number one pick in the NBA draft in June.

Kalib Boone scored 22 points while adding 15 rebounds and five blocks on Saturday against the Longhorns. He is scoring 9.1 points-per-game and pulling down 5.3 rebounds-per-game. Last year’s leading scorer, Isaac Likekely, only scored 2 points, but he did contribute with 8 rebounds. He is the second-leading scorer on the team with a 10.2 points-per-game average while adding 7.1 rebounds-per-game and 3.8 assists-per-game.

Oklahoma State, 12-5, earned their highest-profile victory of the season with their triumph against Texas. They have also registered resume-building wins against Arkansas, Texas Tech, and the Jayhawks. The Cowboys have a 5-5 record in the Big 12 with losses to Baylor, West Virginia, Texas, and two losses to TCU.

The Cowboys rank 58th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency by kenpom. Their 51.7% shooting mark inside the arc is 97th nationally. They rank 24th at kenpom in adjusted defensive efficiency. Their opponent's effective field goal percentage of 46.5% in the Big 12 is the best in the conference.

Kansas has five of their last seven games after their 91-79 loss at West Virginia as a 2.5-point underdog on Saturday. The Jayhawks trailed by 10 points at halftime but forced several turners early in the second half to tie the game. But Kansas could not sustain that energy as the Mountaineers pulled away for the 12-point victory.

Marcus Garrett led the Jayhawks with 18 points. He is one of four Kansas players averaging double-digits in scoring with a 10.2 points-per-per game mark. David McCormack added 17 points with nine rebounds. The 6’10 forward is the second-leading scorer with a 12.6 points-per-game average while pulling down 5.8 rebounds-per-game. Jalen Wilson scored 16 points with 14 rebounds. The 6’8 freshman is scoring 12.3 points-per-game and averaging 7.4 rebounds-per-game. Ochai Agbaji leads the team with a 14.1 points-per-game average after netting 13 points against the Mountaineers.

The Jayhawks can struggle to score baskets. Their 49.1% shooting percentage inside the arc this season is 200th in the nation. The kenpom adjusted offensive efficiency numbers still rank the Jayhawks 34th in the nation. They pull down 32.0% of their misses, 64th in the country. They rank 29th in adjusted defensive efficiency, with their interior defense leading the way. Kansas leads the Big 12 by holding their opponents to just 45.1% shooting inside the arc.

The Jayhawks rank 23rd in the Associated Press poll with a 12-7 record. They are fifth in the Big 12 standings with a 6-5 record. They have quality victories against Creighton, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. Their five losses in conference play were against Texas,  Oklahoma, Baylor, West Virginia, and these Cowboys. The Jayhawks have also lost to two non-conference opponents, Gonzaga and Tennessee.

This contest is a rematch of Oklahoma State’s 75-70 upset win at home in Stillwater against the Jayhawks on January 12th as a 3.5-point underdog. 3-point shooting was the difference in that contest, with the Cowboys making 9 of their 21 shots from distance, 42.9%, while Kansas made only 5 of their 21 shots from 3-point land, 23.8%.

BookMaker lists Kansas as a 6-point favorite with the total set at 139.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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