Oklahoma State vs. Kansas NCAA Basketball Preview

Guard Marcus Garrett #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks handles the ball. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

Guard Marcus Garrett #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks handles the ball. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

Most college basketball games are inconsequential. There are hundreds of teams, and only 68 of them make it to the big dance. To make it to the NCAA tournament, teams must either win their conference or make it as an at-large team. Typically, teams in weaker conferences must win their conference to make the tournament. What makes the Big 12 different is that they are currently ranked as the second-best conference in college basketball. As a result, the Big 12 expects to send several teams to the national championship tournament each year.

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Kansas Jayhawks

Monday, February 08, 2021 – 09:00 PM EST at Phog Allen Fieldhouse

Teams

  • Oklahoma State Cowboys: 12-5
  • Kansas Jayhawks (#23): 12-7

Stakes of the Matchup

Currently the second ranked team in the country Baylor plays in the Big 12. Of the ten teams that play in the “Big 12”, six of them are ranked among the AP top 25 teams. One of those teams the 23rd ranked Kansas Jayhawks host the unranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. While Oklahoma State is unranked, they received the most votes of any unranked team in the last AP poll. Currently Kenpom rates KU as the 27th best team and OSU as the 34th best team. While I see Monday night’s game as a close game, the oddsmakers have determined that the Jayhawks should win as they are favored by five points currently on BetMGM.

Currently Kansas has a 12-7 overall record while Oklahoma State has a 12-5 record. In conference play, KU is 5-5 while OSU is 6-5. KenPom projects the Jayhawks to finish with a 10-8 conference record while the Cowboys will finish with an 9-8 conference record. Kansas appears to be favored based on their past performance in previous years as both teams have played just as competitively this season in a tough conference, so tonight’s game is going to be great to watch.

How Texas Tech and Oklahoma Match Up

While both teams are evenly matched, both teams play much different styles of offense. Oklahoma State plays at the 27th fastest tempo in the NCAA as they average 76.3 possessions per game. Kansas currently averages only 71.1 possessions per game which is slightly lower than the median college basketball team which averages 71.9 possessions per game. The Cowboys are going to look to run the ball up the court all game, while the Jayhawks will try to slow down the tempo. In five games this season against the three slowest tempo teams in the Big 12 (Kansas State, TCU, and Texas Tech), the point total went over in four of those games. Win or lose, I believe that the point total will go over the 140.5 point total that has been set at FanDuel.

Monday night’s game is going to come down to how well Oklahoma State’s offense does against the Jayhawks defense. According to basketball analytics website KenPom, the OSU is 58th in offensive efficiency while KU is 29th in defensive efficiency. For Oklahoma State to win, they must play better on offense then they have been playing all season. Their defense is a strength as the Cowboys has the 24th best adjusted defensive efficiency in college basketball.

Prediction

Monday night’s game will be much closer than the spread suggests. While I really like Oklahoma State to cover the spread as five-point underdogs, I like them even more to cover their first half spread of 2.5 points (-105) being offered at William Hill. Currently Kansas has an average first half margin of -0.7, which is 197th in the NCAA. Conversely Oklahoma State has an average first half margin of +4.9 which is the 47th best in the NCAA. While both teams have virtually identical schedules and records, OSU is a much better team in the first half.

Additionally, I believe that the point total goes over for Monday night’s game. I see Oklahoma State dictating the pace of the game with their up-tempo defense. Even though Kansas is a slow-tempo team, I see Oklahoma State causing them to pick up the pace as they have done all season against slow tempo teams. That is why I am a betting that over 140.5 points are scored at -108 odds on FanDuel.

College Basketball Pick: Oklahoma State 1st Half Spread +2.5 (-105) (William Hill) & Over 140.5 Points (-108) (FanDuel)

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