The No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks look to pick up another Big 12 win on Tuesday evening when they travel to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Jayhawks are coming off a closely contested win over Oklahoma on Saturday, while the Pokes defeated K-State by 16 points to improve to 2-3 in league play. OSU has one of the sports premier players in freshman Cade Cunningham. Oklahoma State always has a way of playing the Jayhawks close, especially in Stillwater, so KU should be in for another Big 12 battle.
- Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 7:00 PM CDT
- Gallegher-Iba Arena – Stillwater, Okla.
- Kansas is vying to break its own Big 12 record by winning its 12th-straight conference road game. KU tied the record with a 93-64 win at TCU (1/5). KU set the mark of 11-straight Big 12 road wins from 2001-03. The last time KU lost a conference road game was March 5, 2019 at Oklahoma.
- Kansas has had four different leading scorers in four of its last five games with David McCormack (2), Jalen Wilson, Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji.
- Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 228 Associated Press polls dating back to 2008-09. The 228-consecutive weeks in the AP poll is an all-time record, surpassing UCLA’s 221 from 1966-80. KU holds the same streak in the coaches’ poll at 235.
- Kansas has been ranked in the top 10 in each of the last 27 Associated Press polls dating back the first poll of the 2019-20 season.
- Kansas leads the Big 12 in rebounds per game (41.6), rebound margin (+8.2) and blocked shots at 4.5 per game.
- Kansas’ last seven losses have been to ranked foes, with three of those teams being in the top five.
Cowboys to Watch
Cade Cunningham – 6’8”, freshman, guard
Cunningham is sure-fire NBA lottery pick, potentially first overall come summer, and he has a complete game. He can score, pass and rebound. He’s leading the Pokes in scoring (17.8 PPG) assists (3.8 APG) and is second in rebounding (6.1 RPG). He’s coming off his worst game of the year, as he put up just five points against K-State. In games against Texas and West Virginia, two of the Big 12’s top teams, Cunningham averaged 25 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Isaac Likekele – 6’5”, junior, guard
Likekele is second on the squad in scoring at 12.3 PPG. He also leads Oklahoma State with more than eight rebounds per game. He doesn’t shoot threes frequently, as he’s attempted just 11 all year, but when he does he’s knocking down 45 percent from range, so naturally he’s due for a 4-for-6 night against KU. Over his last three games Likekele is averaging 18 PPG, including a 17 point performance in a win over Texas Tech.
Jayhawk Pick to Click
Marcus Garrett – 6’5”, senior, guard
The Jayhawks are gonna need their senior leader to come up big on Tuesday night, and not just necessarily on the offensive side of the ball. Garrett, the reigning National Defensive Player of the Year, could see a lot of time guarding Cade Cunningham. KU’s offense looked a bit wonky with Garrett running the show against OU on Saturday, so the Jayhawks will need a better showing against Oklahoma State.
To keep this simple: I do not feel great going into this one. It might just have to do with the fact that it seems KU just never plays its best in Stillwater, and also KU squeaked one out against an OU team they probably should have handled. If you put TCU or Oklahoma jerseys on the same Oklahoma State players, we’d probably be feeling pretty confident, so maybe it is based on KU’s history against the Pokes. Statistically, the Cowboys aren’t a ton different than either TCU or Oklahoma, two teams KU has already taken care of. Neither of those teams has a Cade Cunningham, which could prove to be a huge difference.
Oklahoma State isn’t particularly impressive at any one thing on either side of the ball. They’re pretty good at both shooting twos and defending inside the arc, but they give up tons of open three-point looks, and they struggle to convert at the free throw line. They also don’t have a power forward that can rebound, much like Oklahoma, so I think David McCormack could overwhelm them in the same way he did against the Sooners on Saturday. If the Jayhawks get a solid performance from McCormack, it raises their ceiling tremendously, just like on all other nights.
All the Oklahoma State woes being stated, I do think the Jayhawks pull this one out, but it’ll just be a little too close for comfort. KU will need to shoot the ball better, as they were just 6-for-20 from three against the Sooners. While opponents aren’t exactly shooting a super high percentage on threes vs. Oklahoma State, the amount of open looks they’ve given up indicates some regression could be coming, and the Jayhawks seem due for a night to shoot the ball well from three. Christian Braun has turned into a streaky shooter in conference play; since his 6-for-12 outburst against West Virginia he’s gone 0-for-5, 2-for-4, and 1-for-6 from three. He’s due for a big night. I’ll say that Braun shoots well and Garrett disrupts Cunningham just enough for the Jayhawks to escape a close one and move to 5-1 in league play, but I’ll take the points by thinking it’ll come down to the final possessions.
Kansas 71, Oklahoma State 68
Oklahoma State +4
Season Record: 10-2 (8-4 ATS)