The Big XII is a really solid conference this year, and four of its top five teams play each other tonight. So we're going a little west and a lot south to preview Cowboys-Jayhawks and Sooners-Mountaineers, and hopefully we'll all get rich.
#24 Oklahoma State @ #9 Kansas, 7pm, ESPN2
Line: Kansas -7.5
Oklahoma State (12-3, 2-1 Big XII , 4th in the conference)
- 71.7 points per game (94th)
- 58.6 points against per game (27th)
- 36.3 rebounds per game (115th)
- 72nd toughest schedule (6th in the conference)
Kansas (13-2, 2-0 Big XII, 1st in the conference)
- 71.2 points per game (105th)
- 63.1 points against per game (118th)
- 38.7 rebounds per game (41st)
- 1st toughest schedule (1st in the conference)
Where OK State gets its points:
- 46.5% from twos (285th-highest in the country)
- 31.1% from threes (99th)
- 22.3% from free throws (104th)
- Shooting 51.8% on twos (41st), 34.0% on threes (160th), 70.3% on free throws (133rd)
How teams score their points against Kansas:
- 51.3% from twos (193rd-lowest)
- 31.0% from threes (278th)
- 17.6% from free throws (55th)
- Opponent shooting percentage of 44.5% on twos (83rd-lowest), 33.8% on threes (182nd), 64.7% on free throws (46th)
If the Cowboys are going to pull off this upset, they are going to do it from deep. They attempt about 21.5 threes per game, and it seems like this is a game where one of two things will happen; either Kansas will stifle them and it won't be a close game, or the 'Boys will shoot the lights out and keep it real close.
Where KU gets its points:
- 49.6% from twos (215th-highest)
- 27.5% from threes (194th)
- 22.8% from free throws (82nd)
- Shooting 45.3% on twos (258th), 39.5% on threes (20th), 71.1% on free throws (100th)
I think Kansas' shooting percentage on twos would be 10 points higher if Perry Ellis didn't take ten 18-foot jump shots per game, but they shoot impressively well from deep on their 16.5 triples attempted per game.
How teams score their points against Oklahoma State:
- 49.6% from twos (123rd-lowest)
- 29.1% from threes (214th)
- 21.2% from free throws (202nd)
- Opponents shooting 42.0% on twos (23rd), 31.4% on threes (87th), 66.8% on free throws (99th)
Important games to note for OK State:
- Lost 75-49 @ South Carolina (12/6) - shot 24.6% from the field and 5-24 from deep
- Won 73-55 @ Memphis (12/13) - shot 47.6% from the field, 5-13 from three, 28-36 from the foul line
- Lost 73-64 at home to Maryland (12/21) - shot 8-27 from three and 4-9 from the free throw line
- Won 74-72 (OT) @ Mizzou (12/30)
- Won 61-47 at home against Kansas State (1/3) - shot 48.9% from the field, 8-21 from three, and Kansas State kind of sucks this year
- Lost 63-61 @ Iowa State (1/6)
- Won 69-58 at home against Texas (1/10) - let me put on my hot take hat and tell you that Texas is super overrated this year
Important games to note for Kansas:
- Beat Michigan State 61-56 (11/30)
- Beat Florida 71-65 (12/5)
- Beat Utah 63-60 (12/13)
- Lost 77-52 @ Temple (12/22) - Temple shot 58.3% from the field and help Kansas to 32.1%, and Temple's three-headed-guard-monster went for 54 points and 9 assists
- Beat UNLV 76-61 (1/4) - shot 44.8% from the field and 42.1% from three, and held UNLV to to 30.4% from three while out-rebounding them 45-31
- Won 56-55 @ Baylor
- Crushed Texas Tech 86-54 (1/10)
Kansas is rolling right now. Mason-Selden-Oubre-Ellis-Traylor-Alexander might be the best top 6 in the Big XII, and their only real weakness is the lack of an elite center/post player/defensive stopper. Against Oklahoma State (who lists all of their forwards as F-C instead of just F), it shouldn't be a big issue - OSU's leading rebounder/blocker is 6'8" Michael Cobbins. For size comparison purposes: Cobbins weighs as much as the 6'5" Wayne Selden.
Pick: Kansas -7.5. Would I prefer this teased down 4 points? Absolutely. Do I trust this Kansas team enough to take care of business at home? Absolutely-er.
#18 Oklahoma @ #16 West Virginia, 7pm, ESPNNews
Line: WVU -2.5
Oklahoma (11-4, 2-1 Big XII, 5th in the conference)
- 72.9 points per game (64th)
- 59.4 points against per game (36th)
- 40.3 rebounds per game (17th)
- 44th toughest schedule (3rd in the conference)
West Virginia (14-2, 2-1 Big XII, 3rd in the conference)
- 78.4 points per game (21st)
- 62.0 points against per game (86th)
- 38.9 rebounds per game (38th)
- 56th toughest schedule (4th in the conference)
Who beat West Virginia:
- LSU 74, WVU 73 (12/4) - the Tigers shot 46.4% from the field, 8-15 from deep, and 14-18 from the free throw line. They held West Virginia to 34.3% from the field and just 5-17 on three pointers. The Tigers out-rebounded the 'Eers 44-35. LSU got the win despite losing the turnover battle 24-12.
- Iowa State 74, West Virginia 72 (1/10) - the Cyclones shot a neat 25-50 from the field. They were only 6-17 from the field, but they got to the line a LOT and finished 18-27 on free throws. WVU shot 32.4% from the field, 24.1% from three, and lost the turnover battle 18-9. It's really a credit to them that they found a way to win. They attempted 18 more field goals, and really this game was only close because they grabbed 18 offensive rebounds.
Who beat Oklahoma:
- Creighton 65, Oklahoma 63 (11/19) - neither team played well
- Wisconsin 69, Oklahoma 56 (11/28) - Wisconsin is an elite team, or so we thought. Neither team shot exceptionally well, but Wisconsin won the turnover battle 21-11 and the assist battle 19-6. That's just one team being a head above the other.
- Washington 69, Oklahoma 67 (12/20) - two evenly matched teams, Washington just shot the ball well enough to overcome their turnovers
- Kansas State 66, Oklahoma 63 (1/10) - I touched on KSU and how they stink earlier, but Oklahoma stunk more this game. They shot 40.4% from the field, 33.3% from three, 63.2% from the line, and lost the rebounds/assists/turnovers battles. Woof.
At this point, I'm leaning towards WVU. I think they are underrated, and I think Oklahoma is properly rated in the late teens. I just want to confirm some stats to make sure this isn't a bonehead bet.
Oklahoma gets 53.9% of its points from two pointers, which is 98th-most in the country. That's the most heavily that OU relies on any area of the court (relative to other teams), and they shoot 49.3% on twos, which is a pretty pedestrian 119th in the country.
West Virginia allows twos to make up only 48.6% of their opponents' points, which is 94th in the country. However, they allow their opponents to make 49.8% of twos, which is just 246th.
On the other side of the ball, WVU also tends to lean pretty heavily on twos (55.2% of their points, 70th-most in the nation). Similar to the Sooners, they shoot a less-than-stellar 48.0% from two (161st in the country).
On defense, Oklahoma allows its opponents to score 54.5% of their points from two (76th-most in the country), but allows them to shoot just 40.6% (12th-lowest in the country). So figure that one out.
Pick: I hate it. I hate this game and I hate betting it from either side. Stick with Kansas and save yourself the despair.