After wrapping up their own Senior Night on Monday with a loss to Kansas, the Cowboys will be the visitors for Kansas State's Senior Day festivities in Manhattan. It's the final regular season game for both squads. The Cowboys lost a 66-58 decision to K-State in Stillwater on Jan. 21.
1) OSU has won 13 of 17 meetings with Kansas State since the formation of the Big 12 but the Wildcats have won three of the past five. K-State is just 2-5 against OSU at home in the Big 12 era.
2) Keiton Page is averaging 27.2 points per game in the past five games.
3) Do not expect to see Le'Bryan Nash in Manhattan. The dynamic freshman has missed the Cowboys' past two games with a fractured left hand. Coach Travis Ford listed him as doubtful and explained that there is nothing to gain by playing him and risking further injury.
4) Regardless of Saturday's outcome, the Cowboys have already locked up the No. 7 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. OSU will play No. 10-seeded Texas Tech (8-21, 1-16 Big 12) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
5) Brian Williams has really stepped his game up for Oklahoma State in his redshirt freshman season. He says his confidence is, "higher than ever," coming off a 20-point performance performance on 7-of-11 shooting against No. 4 Kansas. In addition to his ever-improving offensive game, coach Ford said Williams has become the team's top defender and regularly requests the toughest defensive assignment on the opposing team. Expect Williams to spend time on both McGruder and Samuels for the Wildcats.
1) It's Senior Day for K-State's Victor Ojeleye and Jamar Samuels. With a win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, the two would tie former Wildcats Luis Colon, Chris Merriewether and Jacob Pullen for the most wins in school history with 95.
2) OSU has made a habit of making second-half runs on teams even in defeat. This could be a perfect opportunity to do it again. Kansas State has missed a number of opportunities by not closing out games, especially in the Big 12. The Wildcats have held a second-half lead in seven of their nine losses, including six of eight setbacks in league play.
3) A win over Oklahoma State and a loss by Texas clinches the No. 5 seed for the Wildcats and a spot in the first quarterfinal game vs. the No. 4 seed (either Baylor or Iowa State), while a loss and a Texas win makes KSU the No. 6 seed and a match-up with the No. 3 seed (either Baylor or Iowa State). Regardless of the outcome, the two potential opponents remain the same.
4) The Wildcats are just 4-4 in Big 12 play in Bramlage Coliseum this season. They haven't been OSU in Manhattan since 2008.
5) Freshman point guard Angel Rodriguez's ability to take care of the basketball has become a huge part of KSU's success. The Wildcats are 16-3 this season when he records a positive or even assist-to-turnover ratio and slip to 4-5 when it is negative. In the past 13 games he has started, the Wildcats are 8-2 when he has a positive or even assist-to-turnover ratio and 0-3 when he doesn't. OSU held him to an even ratio in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State (14-16, 7-10 Big 12)
C Philip Jurick (6-11, 270, Jr., 1.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
F Michael Cobbins (6-8, 220, Fr., 5.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
G Brian Williams (6-5, 205, Fr., 8.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
G Keiton Page (5-9, 165, Sr., 16.6 ppg, 2.1 apg)
G Markel Brown (6-3, 190, So., 10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg)
Kansas State (20-9, 9-8 Big 12)
F Jordan Hernandez (6-11, 250, Jr., 6.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
F Jamar Samuels (6-7, 230, Sr., 10.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
G Angel Rodriguez (5-11, 180, Fr., 8.0 ppg, 3.2 apg)
G Rodney McGruder (6-4, 205, Jr., 15.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
G Will Spradling (6-2, 180, So., 9.8 ppg, 2.7 apg)
This team has been nearly impossible to predict this season and it's gotten even tougher since losing Nash. K-State is nearly as difficult to get a handle on. It has shown its a team capable of big-time play, as evidenced by back-to-back wins against No. 10 Baylor and No. 3 Missouri in February, but has struggled at times, as well, especially at home. Without Nash and with KSU having lots of motivation from Senior Day and the need to boost its NCAA Tournament résumé, I'm giving the upper hand to the Wildcats. That said, I wouldn't be at surprised if OSU stole this one. Prediction: KSU 72, OSU 68