Game 20: No. 23 Oklahoma State at Kansas – Preview and Prediction

Well the season is officially in a tail-spin, as the Kansas Jayhawks have lost five of their last seven games and sit fifth in the Big 12 standings. On top of that, they just haven’t shown many signs of putting it all together and becoming the team we thought they’d be in December. For the first time since February 2009, KU finds themselves unranked in the AP Top 25. They look to begin to right the ship on Monday night, when they welcome No. 23 Oklahoma State to Allen Fieldhouse. The Cowboys took the first meeting with KU back on January 12 by the score of 75-70. 

  • Monday, February 8th, 2021, 8:00 PM CDT
  • Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kan.  
  • ESPN
  • Kansas (12-7, 6-5) returns home to host No. 23/24 Oklahoma State (12-5, 5-5) on ESPN Big Monday, Feb. 8. The game will begin at 8 p.m. (CT).
  • This is the first game since February of 2009 where Kansas will not be ranked. Their streak of 231 straight weeks in the AP Top 25 ended today.
  • Kansas is No. 4 in NET nationally in strength of schedule, which is first in the Big 12. 
  • To show how tough the Big 12 is, Kansas’ NET is No. 27 among the 357 NCAA Division I teams, which is sixth in the conference.
  • Kansas’ 10 Quadrant 1 games played in 2020-21 tie for the most in the Big 12 and tie for fifth most nationally. Kansas is 3-7 versus Quadrant 1 teams, 3-0 vs. Q2, 1-0 vs. Q3, 4-0 vs. Q4. 
  • Oklahoma State will be the 10th ranked team Kansas will face in 2020- 21. KU is 4-5 versus ranked foes this season with two wins versus top-10 opponents. Note: OSU is No. 24 in the coaches’ poll. 
  • Six of Kansas’ losses have been away from Allen Fieldhouse with five of those being true road contests. 
  • Redshirt-freshman forward Jalen Wilson ranks fourth in the Big 12 in rebounding at 7.4 boards per game which is second among league freshman. His four double-doubles are tied for second overall in the Big 12.
  • Junior David McCormack is averaging 16.8 points in his last four games. He too has four double-doubles this season.
  • Junior guard Ochai Agbaji continues to rank second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made (2.6) and 3-point field goal percentage (39.5%). 

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 (18.2 PPG) assists (3.6 APG) and is second in rebounding (6.1 RPG). Cunningham has been on a tear as of late, as he’s averaging 19.3 PPG, six RPG and three APG in his last four games. In the first matchup with KU, Cunningham had 18 points and seven boards.

Isaac Likekele – 6’5”, junior, guard
Likekele is second on the squad in scoring at 10.2 PPG. He also leads Oklahoma State with more at 7.1 RPG. He doesn’t shoot threes frequently, as he’s attempted just 15 all year, but when he does he’s knocking down 46 percent from range. In the first matchup with the Jayhawks, Likekele has 10 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Jayhawk Pick to Click

Ochai Agbaji – 6’5”, junior, guard
Agbaji has been in double-figures in all but two games this year. He’s been KU’s best and most consistent scorer. He’s shooting 39.5 percent from three this year, which ranks second in the Big 12. If the Jayhawks are going to snap out of this slump against the Pokes, Agbaji is going to need to have another strong performance.

Prediction

Without directly knowing how it happens, I have a feeling Kansas is going to pull it out tonight. They’re too good and too talented to keep losing. They will have to find an answer for Cade Cunningham, who has been on fire lately. Cunningham hurt KU with 18 points in their January matchup, but it was the role players around him that played over their heads and wound up leading Oklahoma State to an upset win.

Agbaji and David McCormack have been consistent for the Jayhawks, so I expect them to lead the charge. Kansas will need to clean up the turnovers, as they had 18 of them in the loss to WVU. In the first matchup with OSU, Kansas was just 5-for-21 from deep, and Oklahoma State was a much-better-than-typical 8-for-21. I don’t see either of those repeating itself. I like KU to come out fast for the first time in awhile, helping them end their rough stretch and open a softer run of games with a win at home.


Kansas 78, Oklahoma State 71
KU -6


AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK
Season Record: 13-6 (10-9 ATS)

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.