Who Are You: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Kevin "Kevo" Danna provides the faithful with his preview of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, including a look at their current season, the players to watch out for tonight, and the keys to a Stanford victory.

Later tonight, the Stanford Cardinal will get set to face their third BCS Conference opponent of the Pre-Pac-10 slate as the Oklahoma State Cowboys come to town.  This will be a huge victory for the Farm Boys to get with a daunting road trip ahead to Evanston and Lubbock.  Exactly how good are the Cowboys, and what will Stanford need to do get to .667 for the first time this season?  Let's take a look at some essential facts on Oklahoma State and keys to the game for the Cardinal.

2009-2010 Season: 8-1 (6-0 home, 0-1 away, 2-0 neutral)

That .889 winning percentage sure looks good, doesn't it?  But let's dissect the Cowboy non-conference slate a little further.  Three of their wins have come against SWAC Opponents, which, according to my non-conference record calculations in the Pac-10 Round-ball Roundup article, is the worst conference in D-I basketball.  Furthermore, in their game against winless SWAC squad Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the Cowboys held just a six point lead at the half and were leading 46-43 with 16:31 to play in the game.  Their best wins so far this season have come against Utah and Bradley, and both of these programs are off to slow starts in 2009-2010 (Utah 5-5, Bradley 5-3).  They also received a scare from Texas-San Antonio, holding on for a 61-55 victory.  UTSA is a good team at 6-2 and having already knocked off Iowa, but again, a good Big 12 team doesn't let a good Southland team hang around for that long.  Their lone loss came at the hands of Tulsa by a count of 86-65.  Tulsa will most definitely make an NCAA Tournament Appearance this season unless they fall off the map in conference play, so that loss isn't horrible.  21 points though?  That might raise a few eyebrows.

Key Players:

James Anderson (6'6, 210 junior): leads the team with 20.4 ppg, 85.1% FT, nine blocks, seven steals, and is 2nd on the team with 6.3 rpg.  He is basically their Landry Fields.

Marshall Moses (6'7, 240 junior): averages a double-double with 12.4 ppg and 10.6 rpg.  He went absolutely bonkers against Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 23 points and 14 rebounds and has 30 rebounds in his last two games.

Obi Muonelo (6'5, 220 senior): doesn't have the biggest stat line, but he is the only senior on the team.  The Cowboys are not quite the same team that went to the Round of 32 and gave Pitt a serious scare.  They lost two of their top-three scorers from a year ago in Byron Eaton and Terrel Harris.

Keiton Page (5'9, 170 sophomore): leading three-point shooter who hits at a 37.9% clip from beyond the arc and averages just over 11 ppg, which is good for 3rd on the team.  In high school, this dude averaged over 44 points per game.  Might not have been the best competition, but WOW.  He was a Big 12 All-Frosh team member last year. 

Keys to the Game:

1. Landry Fields vs. James Anderson - whoever wins this match up has a very good chance of winning the game for his team.  Landry has definitely shone brightly against top competition, but he is going to need to play big on the defensive end to stop Anderson.  He is going to need to eclipse his 2.6 steals per contest average to keep the Cowboys in check.
2. Keep Marshall Moses off the glass - the Cowboys are a very good rebounding team, and it starts with this guy.  While he isn't the tallest post, his 240-pound frame is only matched by Elliott Bullock on Stanford, and Elliott is 6'11.  Boxing out will be paramount to the Cardinal effort on the boards.
3. Quick Start - UC Davis might not be the best competition, but a 14-0 deficit is going to mess with a lot of teams' rhythms.  It will much more difficult to get out to that lead against the Cowboys, but a quick start can do wonders for putting Oklahoma State on its back foot.  Remember the last time a Big 12 team came to Maples?  December 28, 2008 - Texas Tech fell behind quickly and it quickly became an avalanche of runs for the Cardinal as Stanford won by 45 points.
4. Loud Crowd - maybe a little cheesy, but Oklahoma State has only played one proper road game, and they got destroyed by 21 points against Tulsa.  The fans that show up need to help create a hostile environment to let the Cowboys know they aren't welcome in Palo Alto!

Come out and support the Cardinal tonight and get all your Bootleg fix with Ray Salloom's post-game wrap-up afterwards!

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