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Kansas State Basketball: Oklahoma State Preview

Drew looks at the Cowboys ahead of Tuesday’s contest.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State (9-6, Big12 1-2) vs #11 Kansas State (14-1, Big12 3-0)

January 10th, 2023 - 6 PM CST

Manhattan, Kansas - The Octagon of Doom


Oklahoma State Roster

Oklahoma State Starters

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Center 23 Tyreek Smith Jr 6'9" 217 Baton Rouge, LA Texas Tech
Forward 22 Kalib Boone Fr 6'9" 198 Tulsa, OK
Wing 1 Bryce Thompson Jr 6'6" 195 Tulsa, OK Kansas
Guard 51 John-Michael Wright Sr 6'1" 190 Fayetteville, NC High Point
Point Guard 0 Avery Anderson Sr 6'3" 158 Justin, TX

Oklahoma State Bench

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Guard 5 Caleb Asberry Sr 6'3" 165 Pflugerville, TX Texas State
Guard 2 Chris Harris Sr 6'2" 223 Dallas, TX
Center/Forward 4 Woody Newton Jr 6'9" 195 District Heights, MD Syracuse
Guard/Wing 13 Quion Williams Fr 6'4" 208 Jonesboro, AR

Oklahoma State on Offense

The Cowboys are decent on offense. Their 106.3 offensive efficiency is good for 98th in the nation. Their average possession length is 17.4 seconds, which make them as a mid-tempo team. They shoot 33.3% from 3 (182nd) and 51.3 from 2 (124th). They don’t do anything particularly well, but in terms of statistics, their 33% offensive rebounding percentage (60th) is their strength. Essentially, Oklahoma State doesn’t shoot it well, but they’re above average at chasing down their own misses.

The problem for this team is turnovers, and it’s a huge problem. 22% of their possession don’t end in an attempt on the basket. That’s good for 330th in the nation. 11.9% (344th) of their possessions end in a steal for the opposition and 10.1% (254) of their possessions end in a non-steal turnover. If you’re looking to pinpoint a reason for their disappointing 9-6 record, it’s because they can’t hold onto the ball.

They mainly play 3 around 2, with 2 wings, and a point guard at the top of the key. Their forward and center stay inside the arc but are more for screening and rebounding than post up buckets. Look for them to utilize cross screen at the free throw line to try and free up Bryce Thompson for outside looks. I don’t see anything difficult to handle, conceptually, with Oklahoma States offense. If wing Bryce Thompson makes outside shots and point guard Avery gets to the rim, they’re decent, but if either is off, they struggle to score.

Kansas transfer Bryce Thompson leads them in scoring at 12.1 points a game. He’s the focal point of their offense, but has only cracked 20 points once this season, in a revenge game against Kansas where he went 7-10 from 3 (those 7 shots were the only ones he made in the game). He’s highly reliant on his outside shooting to score, and is shooting 41% from deep. Texas shut off his oxygen, and held him to 5 points on 1-5 shooting. I expect the Wildcats to try and force him to put the ball on the court and drive to score. He’s the one guy on the Ok State roster that you can’t help off of, because at 6’6”, he’s got the length to shoot over closing defenders.

Avery Anderson is almost the polar opposite of Thompson. He’s a dreadful 3 point shooter, only hitting 19% from deep, but he’s good at getting to the rim, hitting 52% of his 2 point shots. He’s also an 87% free throw shooter and leads the Cowboys in free throw attempts with 59 (2nd place is Kalib Boone with 39). He’s also the best passer on the team and runs a nice pick and roll. He’s especially dangerous in pick and pops with Thompson, but for some reason, they don’t put him that action much. He’ll take Markquis to the hole on occasion, but I expect Kansas State’s pit bull point guard to exploit his 25.8% turnover rate.

Oklahoma State on Defense

*numbers in parentheses are the national KenPom rankings

While the Cowboy offense hasn’t been great, or even good, their defense is elite. Their 89.4 adjusted defensive efficiency is 11th in the nation, and their 42.2 effective field goal percentage is 5th nationally. They’re only allowing teams to shoot 28.4%(14) from 3 and 42%(6) from two.

They play an interesting version of a 1-2-2 zone that looks a bit like a match-up zone. All players are interchangeable, and their back line players do an excellent job of jumping out on shooters, knowing they’ll be replaced by one of the top line players. It took me a while to figure out what they were doing, because at times it looks like they’re playing straight man, but you’ll notice that they switch and replace most screens. They tend to keep at least 1 rim protector on the back line at all times, which leads to players like Kalib Boone seemingly coming out of nowhere to block shots. Against Texas, he jumped out on a pull up jumper and swatted it. You don’t see jump shots getting blocked in the college game that often. They block 16.3 (4) percent of their opponents shots

The interesting thing about the Oklahoma State defense, is they defend hard, but don’t force as many turnovers as you would think. They have a 19.8 turnover percentage (113), a 9.2 steal percentage (186) and a 10.6 non-steal turnover percentage. They stay in front and contest shots, but don’t jump passing lanes or reach. Part of what makes them a great defensive team is not giving up easy looks. Every basket Texas scored in the half court was hard earned.

Like all zone defenses, there are a couple tried and true methods to attacking. First, you can beat it down the floor in transition. Attacking before the zone gets set is my favorite way negating zone defense. Chaos is the enemy of a zone defense, and pushing the ball after both makes and misses causes chaos. Even if you don’t score in transition, you end up facing a defense that doesn’t start in its preferred shape. The other way to attack this defense is creating chaos in the half court. The Wildcats do a great job of this. Oklahoma State does a great job of stuffing the first action in an offensive set. That won’t bother the Wildcat’s as much as other teams, because they recycle the ball, and keep attacking when the initial action gets stuffed. The longer you force a team to rotate and hand off players, the better chance you have of finding an open shot or mismatch.

X-Factor - Moussa Cisse Injury

Cisse missed the Texas game with an ankle sprain and is doubtful tonight. The former 5* Memphis recruit is hyper athletic at 7’1” and is one of the best shot blockers in the nation. His 12.8% block rate is good for 6th in the nation, his 30.4 defensive rebounding percentage is 3rd in the nation, and his 13.4 offensive rebounding percentage is 71st. He’s an incredible back line anchor, capable of blocking shots inside and on the perimeter. Kalib Boone blocked 6 shots and Tyreek Smith swatted 3 in his absence against Texas, but neither are a shot negator like Cisse. When guards see him lurking, they don’t even try to put up a shot, or go to lower percentage floaters to try and keep from getting swatted.

Possibly more important than his defense is his rebounding. He was injured early in the West Virginia game, and the Cowboys gave up 13 offensive rebounds. Without Cisse on the floor, Texas pulled down 12 offensive boards. He also draws attention on the offensive boards, giving his teammates an opportunity to hit the glass against better block out match outs.

If he’s not available, or is limited, it’s a big problem for Oklahoma State.



Kansas State - 70

Oklahoma State - 67


Kansas State - 75

Oklahoma State - 65

Oklahoma State is good on defense, but Kansas State does an excellent job of sharing the ball. That’s trouble for the Cowboy’s defense. I look for Markquis to get in the lane, draw defenders and then dish the ball to any one of the Wildcats above the rim finishers. He’ll put up another double/double and K-State will pull away mid-second half and hold them at arms length down the stretch.