OSU-KU: Matchups

Breaking down Sunday afternoon's nationally televised showdown (CBS Sports) between the fourth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (20-4 overall and 10-3 in the Big 12) and eighth-ranked Kansas (20-4 and 10-3) at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kans. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

POINT GUARD
OSU's John Lucas (18.0 ppg, 4.7 apg)
vs. KU's Aaron Miles (9.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 7.5 apg)
Both are winners. Lucas has a record of 51-8 (86.4 percent) as the Cowboys' starting point guard the past two season since transferring from Baylor. Miles is a four-year starter (130 starts) with a107-25 record (81.1 percent) with the Jayhawks.
Lucas, although just 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, knows how to put the ball in the basket. He is second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring (18.0) and leads the league in assists-to-turnover ratio (2.95), three-point field goals made per game (3.0) and three-point field goal percentage (42.4 percent). Lucas was outstanding in last season's 80-60 victory over the Jayhawks in Stillwater, scoring a team-high 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting (3-of-5 from three-point range) while playing 38 minutes. After struggling with his shooting touch midway through the season, he regained it during the Cowboys' six-game winning streak prior to Tuesday night's loss to Nebraska.
Miles is one of only two players to start all 24 games for the Jayhawks this season (Keith Langford is the other). He is among the nation's best playmakers and directs the KU attack, scoring nine points a game but more importantly dishing out 7.5 assists (which ranks him fifth in the nation). He also is a the Jayhawks' best three-point shooter (making 50 percent although he is only 30-of-60 on the season which does not give him enough attempts to qualify in the national rankings).
Edge: Lucas

SHOOTING GUARD
OSU's Daniel Bobik (6.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.5 apg)
vs. KU's Keith Langford (15.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.8 apg)
Bobik has been the Cowboys' unsung hero this season and could be the unknown factor against the Jayhawks. He has covered the opponent's best perimeter scorer this season, and always seems to get the job done (ie. holding Big 12-leading scorer Ronald Ross of Texas Tech to 12 points below his average a week ago). But if he's hitting from three-point range (as he was when he went 3-for-5 from behind the arc in last year's KU game) then the Cowboys are almost unstoppable. His play on defense, whether guarding Langford, Giddens or even Miles, could be the key to this game.
Langford, who was named to the Midseason Wooden Award list, does not receive the recognition of teammate Wayne Simien but his coaches and teammates know just how valuable the 6-foot-4 senior is to the Jayhawks. He is averaging 15.3 points per game, but has increased that to 16.1 points in Big 12 play. In his last six games, Langford is averaging 19 points. He struggled, however, in last year's game against the Cowboys, scoring just eight points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field and was 3-of-8 from the free-throw line. He does a little bit of everything for the Jayhawks as his numbers attest (15.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists).
Edge: Langford

SHOOTING GUARD
OSU's JamesOn Curry (8.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
vs. KU's J.R. Giddens (10.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
Curry was one of the Big 12's hottest players prior to Tuesday night's loss at Nebraska. Giddens, on the other hand, is one of the conference's coldest.
When either of these players are on they are two of the most dangerous outside shooters in the conference. Curry was inserted into the starting lineup four weeks ago and the Cowboys went on a six-game winning streak, with the 6-foot-3 freshman averaging 14.3 points and shooting better than 62 percent from three-point range. But he only took four shots (and was 1-for-2 from behind the three-point line) and finished with seven points in Tuesday night's loss to Nebraska. But he gives the Cowboys a player similar to Langford who can create his own shot, although that sometimes gets him in trouble with Eddie Sutton when he gets out of control.
Giddens has struggled during the Jayhawks' three-game losing skid, and the KU fans have let him know about it by booing him during last Saturday's home loss to Iowa State (when he was 1-of-11 on three-pointers). The Oklahoma City John Marshall High School product is just 10-of-35 from the field in the last three games, including 5-of-23 from three-point range. But the KU sophomore has a shooter's mentality – keep shooting until they start going in. OSU fans are hoping that Giddens' slump continues for one more game.
Edge: Curry

POWER FORWARD
OSU's Joey Graham (17.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
vs. KU's Wayne Simien (18.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg)
The two best players in the Big 12 put it all on the line for both the outright lead in the conference but also with player of the year honors at stake.
Graham is one of the toughest matchups in the nation for any team. He can step out behind the three-point arc and drill it from anywhere on the court and he is strong enough to take it inside when he wants to. But which Joey Graham will show up? The one who is capable of putting up a double-double almost any time he wants to (as he did with his 25-point, 12-rebound performance earlier in the year against Texas Tech)? Or will it be the Graham who all but disappeared in Tuesday night's loss to Nebraska (12 points and four rebounds in 37 minutes)? For the Cowboys to win Graham has to come to play.
Simien can't be blamed although the Jayhawks have lost three games in a row for the first time since the 1993-94 season. He is playing some of his best basketball of the season. The Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year has recorded five double-doubles in his last six games and has a conference-leading 12 double-doubles this season. He leads the Big 12 in scoring with his 18.6 point average and ranks eighth nationally in rebounding (10.8). The Cowboys know that Simien is going to his his 18 points and 10-11 rebounds but they need to make sure he doesn't have a monster game and go off for something like 32 points and 18 rebounds. Simien is one reason the OSU coaching staff was hoping that Frans Steyn or Aaron Pettway would turn into someone they could count on this season. That hasn't happened and thus Joey Graham and Ivan McFarlin will be asked to guard Simien. The Cowboys can't afford to have either of those two get into foul trouble or else they'll be in trouble.
Edge: Simien

CENTER
OSU's Ivan McFarlin (11.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
vs. KU's Sasha Kaun (3.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg) or Christian Moody (6.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
If there's one player the Cowboys must have on the floor in order to beat the Jayhawks it is McFarlin. If you want evidence of how valuable McFarlin is to the Cowboys just rewind to Tuesday night's loss to Nebraska. He played just 25 minutes and finished with two points and seven rebounds before fouling out. But his warrior mentality means more to this team than anything else. When he's on the floor he believes that every rebound is his, and that type of play rubs off on his teammates.
Kaun, the 6-foot-11 freshman, has started the last two games in place of the injured Christian Moody. KU coach Bill Self would love to have Moody back in the line up. He has missed the last two games after contracting a staph infection while diving for a loose ball on Feb. 14. Self expected Moody to return to practice on Friday and is hoping he can play against the Cowboys. If not, then Kaun and 6-10 freshman C.J. Giles will get the call.
Edge: McFarlin

BENCH
Eddie Sutton and his staff have been using a seven-man rotation bringing seniors Stephen Graham (7.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg) and Terrence Crawford (4.6 ppg and 4.0 rpg) off the bench. Graham has shown flashes of being brilliant during the season (ie. vs. Syracuse back in December with his 16-point, nine-rebound performance) but has not been a major contributor as of late (four points, two rebounds vs. Nebraska). Crawford's playing time has diminished since JamesOn Curry has been inserted into the starting lineup. He still brings a lot of energy to the floor and continues to make a difference when he's in the game (ie. five points and nine rebounds vs. Texas Tech). Marcus Dove came off the bench to give some good minutes against Nebraska.
The Jayhawks' bench, especially with Moody injured, does not go much deeper than the Cowboys'. In the backcourt, Michael Lee has seen action in all of KU's 24 games and is averaging 3.8 points. Jeff Hawkins, a former walk-on, is a three-point shooting threat (11-of-20 this season). Freshman C.J. Giles (3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds) started five games when Simien was injured earlier in the season.His playing time has diminished in recent weeks. Alex Galindo, a 6-7 freshman, played 23 minutes in KU's most recent game against Oklahoma, finishing with seven points and three rebounds.
Edge: Cowboys

COACHING
OSU's Eddie Sutton
vs. KU's Bill Self
Eddie Sutton is the seventh winningest Division I coach ever with 775 victories, and will tie Lou Henson for sixth place on the list with four more victories. He has coached in his share of big games, including last year's Final Four. He has earned national coach of the year recognition four different seasons – Arkansas (1977 & ‘78), Kentucky (1986) and OSU (1995). Although his record against Kansas is just 10-19, don't expect Sutton to be intimidated going into Allen Fieldhouse.
Bill Self is 1-4 against Oklahoma State. Self was an assistant during Sutton's first few years at OSU, and Self has since gone on to prove himself to be an outstanding head coach at Oral Roberts University (1993-97), Tulsa (1997-2000) and Illinois (2000-03) before taking over at KU prior to last season. He has compiled a 251-118 record in his 12 years as a head coach.
Edge: Sutton

INTANGIBLES
Oklahoma State (91.57 points) is ranked fifth in the Sagarin Ratings while Kansas (90.97) is ranked eighth. Using the Sagarin Ratings, KU will be favored to win since the Jayhawks are playing on their home court and will receive a four-point home court advantage. Allen Fieldhouse is one of the most difficult places to play in the Big 12. The Jayhawks' loss to Iowa State at home was just the third in four years for this group of seniors. Simien, Langford, Miles and Lee have led the Jayhawks to a 54-3 record in Allen Fieldhouse during their careers. Overall, the KU seniors are 107-25 with two Final Four appearances (including one national championship game appearance) and they advanced to the Elite Eight last season before losing in overtime to Georgia Tech. Oklahoma State has not won in Lawrence in more than 22 years. The last Cowboy win in Allen Fieldhouse was on Feb. 12, 1983. One other interesting note: OSU is fourth in the nation in field goal percentage (50.8 percent) and first in three-point field goal percentage (42.9 percent) while KU ranks third in field goal percentage defense (37.5 percent).
Edge: Kansas

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