By. Luke Lazarczyk
Struggling Cowboys come to Manhattan to challenge rising Wildcats.
K-State 13-4 (3-1)
After multiple poor performances, Kansas State basketball is on the rise again. Head coach Jerome Tang’s overtime record now stands 10-0 after defeating No. 9 Baylor 68-64 in an intense battle. The defense once again starred, holding the No. 1 3-point shooting team to just 17.9% on the night. The Wildcats have caused issues for opposing offenses for a month, not allowing anyone to score 70 or more points since Dec. 5, 2023. If the offense can catch up with the hellacious defense, the Wildcats can battle anyone in the talented Big 12.
Oklahoma State 8-9 (0-4)
Not much is going right for Oklahoma State. After a five-game winning streak to combat early season struggles, the Cowboys have gone winless in conference play, with their average point differential standing at -18. The backcourt has found some success with the long ball, but not enough to win big games. Their matchup against the Wildcats is crucial to turn the season around.
Matchup to Watch: K-State defense vs. Oklahoma State perimeter shooters
The one hope for Oklahoma State to turn everything around is behind their guard-play. Former Kansas Jayhawk Bryce Thompson and former East Carolina Pirate Javon Small are the Cowboys’ two members averaging double-digit points. Still, the duo hasn’t clicked yet, often with one playing well and the other lagging behind. This trend must end to take down K-State.
The best avenue for the pair to click is from behind the arc. While both are shooting in the low 40s percentage-wise from the field, they both are in the high 30s from 3-point land. Each must find a rhythm from deep to compete in the Big 12.
While that may seem a simple task just to make shots, it won’t be against K-State. The Wildcats hounded the top-shooting Baylor Bears and caused havoc for many other teams. Oklahoma State does not have the best pair to break that streak, but a few lucky bounces can flip the script for the struggling Cowboys to steal one in Manhattan.
Guard Cam Carter
Guard Dorian Finister
Guard Bryce Thompson
Guard Javon Small
Prediction: K-State 73-65