Kansas’s Marcus Garrett brings the ball up the court during the first half of the NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Mitch Alcala)
- The Kansas Jayhawks (12-7, 6-5 Big 12) host the Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-5, 5-5 Big 12) Monday, Feb. 8
- KU and OSU are headed in opposite directions, with the Jayhawks losing five of their lasts seven and the Pokes winning five of their last seven
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
#25 Kansas (12-7, 6-5 Big 12), coming off a fifth-straight road loss, return home to host Oklahoma State (12-5, 5-5 Big 12) in a Big 12 Monday showdown Monday, Feb. 8 in Lawrence. Tip time is set for 9 p.m. ET at Allen Fieldhouse.
Bill Self’s squad was a top-10 team in the AP rankings until late January. But now, after losing five of their last seven, the Jayhawks are in desperate need of a victory over a ranked opponent. The last time KU beat a team with a number in front of it was Dec. 22, when the Jayhawks beat West Virginia 79-65 at The Phog. Meantime, the Pokes outlasted Texas 75-67 in double overtime Saturday. Both teams shot poorly (OSU was 35-percent from the field while UT was an abysmal 25-percent from the floor).
After a rugged outing at home, Mike Boynton’s club now travels to Lawrence — where Kansas is favored by 4.5-points — looking to replicate its 75-70 victory over the Jayhawks from earlier this season at OSU.
Oklahoma State vs #25 Kansas Odds
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||+4.5 (-113)||N/A||Over 140.5 (-110)|
|Kansas Jayhawks||-4.5 (-107)||N/A||Under 140.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 7th.
Projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft Cade Cunningham struggled against the Longhorns Saturday. But the freshman phenom came up big in crunch time, scoring five of his 19 points in the second overtime in a 5-for-22 effort from the field to go along with six turnovers. It was OSU’s second victory over a ranked team this season (following an 82-77 overtime win at then No. 13 Texas Tech Jan. 2),
Meantime, Kansas bounced back from a 10-point halftime deficit against WVU to give itself a chance for a much-needed victory. But after cutting the Mountaineers’ lead to five with 5:31 left to play, the Jayhawks’ offense went MIA as KU ultimately lost,91-79. Now, the team still rated in the top-25 (at No. 25) by KenPom hopes a return to its fabled home court is the tonic for its ills.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Unfortunately for Rock Chalk Nation, if Self’s team can’t defend the perimeter Monday, the Jayhawks could be in danger of being swept by Oklahoma State for the second time in four years. When Self’s alma mater turned the trick in 2018, it was the first time a school had swept KU during his tenure in Lawrence. But WVU’s starting backcourt got off Saturday to the tune of 54 combined points. That simply won’t do against Cunningham and Co.
Boynton’s four-guard set scored 59 of the Pokes’ 75 points in that five-point victory over the Jayhawks in Stillwater last month. Unless reigning Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Garrett and his fellow guards defend OSU better, look for lightning to strike twice.
Every star needs help if their team wants to achieve the ultimate goal. Over the last handful of games, Cunningham’s primary sidekick has been fellow freshman Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe. The 6-foot-7 Canadian had double-doubles in three of the past four games But the forward suffered an injury in Friday’s practice, keeping him out against UT. Enter Kalib Boone.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore was OSU’s most consistent player Saturday, finishing with 22 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. He got the better of UT’s formidable arsenal of bigs with nifty footwork in the paint. Whether or not Moncrieffe is available Monday remains a mystery. But Cunningham — and Oklahoma State fans — can rest easier knowing Boone has the ability to be a strong supporting cast member against Kansas.
Experience vs Youth
The Cowboys outlasted the ‘Horns Saturday more than they beat them. Texas outrebounded OSU (56-53) and had less turnovers (22 vs 21). But the Pokes got clutch buckets and key stops down the stretch to seal a big home win. I’m not sure if a repeat performance will fly against a more experienced and what has become a rather desperate Kansas team.
No. 23 Kansas loses against No. 17 West Virginia, and has now lost 4 straight games against AP-ranked teams for the first time since Feb. – March 2004.
Kansas came into this game having won a series-best 5 straight and 9 of the last 10 against the Mountaineers. pic.twitter.com/Hnp3eYSwuZ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 6, 2021
Simply put, I have more confidence in Garrett at home than I do the talented — but careless — Cowboys on the road. Plus, the Jayhawks have the revenge factor working for them. In the topsy-turvy Big 12, look for KU to come away with a near must-win.
Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -4.5 (-107)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.