Oklahoma State vs. Kansas College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Jayhawks at the Phog (Monday, February 14)
Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David McCormack.
- Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks host Mike Boynton and the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, on Monday night.
- The Jayhawks have continued to shuffle things rotation-wise through February, leaving them as a high-variance team at times.
- Shane McNichol explains whether or not they can overcome that and cover at home.
Oklahoma State vs. Kansas Odds
|Oklahoma State Odds|
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Oklahoma State has felt like an afterthought this season. Mega-star Cade Cunningham left to be the top pick in the NBA Draft, leaving behind a team of interesting pieces for head coach Mike Boynton.
Those pieces got a little less interesting to fans across the country when the NCAA upheld its postseason ban on the Cowboys this season, stemming back to the FBI’s investigation into the program in 2017.
The ban is a brutal break for the Pokes, especially considering it is a punishment for the crimes of an assistant coach who never worked for Boynton or even his predecessor. Oklahoma State is paying a penalty for ancient history.
It’s left this season feeling like one in limbo. The Cowboys are talented and would potentially have threatened to make a run into the NCAA Tournament. Now, they feel like an agent of chaos, doing more to hurt other teams than build their own resume.
A win in Lawrence, Kansas, on Monday night would shake things up in the Big 12. These Cowboys are always ready for a fight, but the Jayhawks are a heavyweight contender.
With Cunningham gone, Oklahoma State soldiers forward with most of the players who complemented him during its NCAA Tournament run last season. Avery Anderson and Isaac Likekele run the show, surrounded by a host of wings and bigs with length and springy athleticism.
A few key newcomers have helped fill the void left by Cunningham. Memphis transfer Moussa Cisse is a rim-to-rim big man, capable of hammering home lob dunks as a roll man and protecting the rim as the anchor point of the Pokes’ defense.
Monday marks a critical moment for Oklahoma State’s other important transfer: sophomore Bryce Thompson. He arrived in Stillwater after providing limited contributions to this Kansas team last season.
The Cowboys are a tough draw for most teams. Boynton is an excellent defensive coach from the tree of Illinois head man Brad Underwood. Boynton uses his team’s size and speed to create constant uncertainty from opposing ball handlers.
Oklahoma State’s issues have come on the other end of the floor.
The Cowboys have players able to create off the bounce, cut in space, and compete at the rim, but a complete lack of shooting on the outside hampers the Pokes’ offense. No one on this team who has attempted more than 10 3-pointers has made better than 34.5%. That leaves things clogged and stagnant at times.
Bill Self’s roster is at an odd crossroads for a top-10 team in February.
Self can rely on contributions from his two star wings. Ochai Agbaji is an All-American candidate and the focal point of the Jayhawk offense. Christian Braun has grown into a dangerous secondary scoring threat, catching the eyes of NBA scouts.
Kansas has a few other known commodities. David McCormack is a bull inside the paint and one of the best offensive rebounders in the country.
He’s also a black hole when he catches a post touch, which the Jayhawks can’t quit giving him. It’s not a great sign that a 6-foot-10 big man who ranks second in the nation in offensive rebounding rate is shooting a lower percentage inside the arc than his perimeter-dwelling teammates, Agbaji and Braun.
After that group, the questions start to bubble up.
Jalen Wilson is a nice role player, but nothing more. Mitch Lightfoot is a serviceable big man who acts as an extra coach on the floor. Jalen Coleman-Lands is a shooter at the ready. KJ Adams is a freshman with some funk and twitchy athletic gifts, but it’s not clear he knows where to be or what do on the floor just yet.
In the backcourt, Self has a three-headed monster of uncertainty.
Dajuan Harris looks like the Jayhawks’ point guard of the future, but he’s being asked to do a lot in the present. Harris has played 38 (!) or more minutes in three of Kansas’ last four games.
His production has been spotty. He’s a pass-first player, racking up assists without much shooting or scoring to balance it. Harris’ turnover rate stands over 23%, and he’s only taken three total free throws in his last six games.
Self’s other options are both transfers. Remy Martin was seen by some as the primary prize of the transfer portal this offseason after four years as a star at Arizona State. He played well for Kansas early on, then began to fight the injury bug.
Martin missed a few games but returned for a stretch in late January in which he was inefficient and did not look like himself. He’s now missed the Jayhawks’ last four games and Self hinted that Martin’s bruised knee may have been additionally dinged by court-storming fans after Kansas lost to Texas.
Self’s last option in the backcourt is Drake transfer Joseph Yesufu. He earned headlines when he chose Kansas after helping Drake reach the NCAA Tournament last year. His potential impact was likely overstated, given that he didn’t start for Drake until a teammate got injured. Sixth men from the Missouri Valley Conference don’t usually slide right into the lineup of a Big 12 team.
Yesufu’s contributions were spotty to start the season. He played double-digit minutes just five times before February began. With Martin sidelined, however, Self has turned to Yesufu. He played big minutes and provided a spark versus Iowa State, adding five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He played a ton in the loss to Texas but stayed sidelined in a win over Oklahoma.
There’s no coach among the contending teams in college basketball still working to shuffle things like Self. It leaves the Jayhawks as a high-variance team.
When the puzzle pieces click, Kansas beats Baylor in a rout. Just a week prior, when things weren’t settled, Kansas lost to Kentucky in a blowout.
Oklahoma State vs. Kansas Betting Pick
Oklahoma State will do its best to turn this game into a high-speed street fight. Against plenty of other teams in the Big 12, especially when playing at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, that plan is a viable way to win.
Against these Jayhawks in Phog Allen Fieldhouse? It’s a less prudent path.
Kansas is too smart and experienced to let Oklahoma State control the pace and tenor of this game, especially when the Pokes aren’t likely to have an outlier game from 3-point land.
Life is a lot easier when you keep it simple and back the Jayhawks in Lawrence. Since 2012, Kansas has covered the spread 53% of the time as a home favorite.
Pick: Kansas -10.5
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