Big Monday Preview: OSU vs. KU

When the season started this was a game a lot of people had circled on their calendars. But Monday night's showdown on national television (ESPN's Big Monday) has lost some of its luster because OSU has lost six of its last seven games, while Kansas is on a seven-game winning streak. Another big question that Cowboy fans are asking is about Eddie Sutton and whether he will be on the sideline following last Friday's automobile accident which sent him to the hospital.

Oklahoma State (13-11, 3-7) vs. Kansas (17-6, 8-2)
Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611) – Stillwater, Okla.
Monday, 8 p.m., ESPN
ESPN: Ron Franklin, Fran Fraschilla & Holly Rowe
Cowboy Radio Network: Dave Hunziker and Tom Dirato

Kansas leads the all-time series 98-51, and also has won most of the games played in Stillwater (32-29). The Cowboys won the last game in Stillwater, also a Big Monday affair shown on national television, by the score of 80-60 in 2004. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU has won nine of the 13 games played between the two teams, and the Jayhawks are 2-2 in games played in Stillwater.
Play Defense: The Cowboys gave themselves a chance against Texas A&M on Saturday despite shooting a season-worst 30 percent from the field because they played their best defensive game of the season. OSU's Marcus Dove, who held A&M's Acie Law to eight points (the first time he hadn't scored in double figures in 21 games), will need the same type of performance against KU's explosive Brandon Rush, who averages a team-high 14.4 points per game (but is scoring nearly 17 points in Big 12 contests).

Forget About the Past: The Cowboys can't do anything about what's already happened this season – including five two-point losses on the last possession of the game – so they may as well forget about it. OSU's six-game season begins Monday night against KU, and the Cowboys can definitely play the spoiler role in the Big 12 race with games against second-place KU (8-2 in the league), first-place Texas (9-1) and third-place Oklahoma (7-3) still on the schedule.

Win One for Eddie: Nothing would do more to help Eddie Sutton begin feeling better than to see his Cowboys defeat the Big 12's second-place team – whether he be watching from the bench or in front of the television set in his Stillwater home. As everyone now knows, Sutton missed OSU's game Saturday at Texas A&M after being involved in a automobile accident on Friday evening, and did not travel with the team to College Station, Texas. Eddie knows that nothing helps cure the aches and pains better than a W – after all he's got 794 of them in the past 36 years as a Division I head coach.

Play Like Seniors, Not Freshmen:
KU will probably start three freshmen, none of whom have played like they are playing in front of hostile crowds like Columbia, Mo., Ames, Iowa, and College Station, Texas. Brandon Rush leads all Big 12 freshmen with 14.4 points per game. He also leads the Jayhawks in three-point field goals with 34 and in rebounding with 6.0 per game. Point guard Mario Chalmers is averaging 10.6 points, including 15.5 in Big 12 games. He leads the Big 12 in steals with 2.65 per game and is also among the league leaders in assists (sixth with 4.0). Julian Wright set a career high with nine rebounds and tied a career best with four blocked shots against Iowa State on Saturday.

Don't Make Self Feel At Home: KU head coach Bill Self is a 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State University and was on the staff of Eddie Sutton when he first arrived in Stillwater. Self's record against Oklahoma State is 2-5 all-time, including last season's thrilling 81-79 victory during the regular season in Lawrence, Kan. The Cowboys won 78-75 in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City a few weeks later.

OSU's projected starters:
F: 4 Mario Boggan (6-7, 235, Jr., 13.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
F: 32 David Monds (6-8, 232, Jr., 8.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
G: 5 Marcus Dove (6-9, 215, So., 4.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
G: 10 Jamaal Brown (5-10, 200, Jr., 5.2 ppg, 3.2 apg)
G: 24 JamesOn Curry (6-3, 190, So., 13.5 ppg, 4.2 apg)

OSU's key reserves:
F: 55 Torre Johnson (6-6, 215, Jr., 11.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg)
G: 00 Byron Eaton (5-11, 215, Fr., 7.6 ppg, 3.3 apg)
G: 1 Terrel Harris (6-5, 190, Fr., 4.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg)

KU's projected starters:
F: 30 Julian Wright (6-8, 218, Fr., 7.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
F: 25 Brandon Rush (6-6, 207, Fr., 14.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
C: 24 Sasha Kaun (6-11, 246, So., 8.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
G: 3 Russell Robinson (6-1, 196, So., 8.7 ppg, 3.8 apg)
G: 15 Mario Chalmers (6-2, 190, Fr., 10.6 ppg, 4.0 agp)

KU's key reserves:
F: 32 Darnell Jackson (6-8, 250, So., 7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
C: 33 C.J. Giles (6-11, 235, So., 6.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
G: 1 Jeff Hawkins (5-11, 180, Sr., 4.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg)

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