Following a 23-point thrashing at the hands of Texas A&M, the Cowboys continue their road trip to Boulder. But unlike recent years, Boulder might not be a good place for a pick-me-up. The Buffaloes feel good. The Cowboys just got whipped. Their timing couldn’t be worse.
OKLAHOMA STATE: A few issues here. I mentioned earlier that the OSU backcourt is so undersized that they are susceptible to stronger players taking advantage sometimes. Justin wrote Thursday morning about how Keiton Page was having trouble keeping up with A&M’s players defensively.
CU’s Alec Burks and Cory Higgins are more than a minor challenge. Despite only getting 12 points, late in the game Burks matched whatever K-State’s talented Jacob Pullen did offensively. Burks and Higgins bring some of the same matchup problems as the long, athletic Aggies.
Luckily for OSU, the Cowboys might have an advantage down low. I’m not sure how well anyone on Colorado can handle Marshall Moses by himself, and if he demands extra attention, Oklahoma State might get better shots than they generally did Wednesday night.
Being on the road is another issue, because you know Colorado is about as hyped as they’re going to be for basketball. If CU went 13 years without winning a conference opener, think how excited they’ll be for 2-0 (especially considering both K-State and Mizzou are ranked teams!).
COLORADO: We’ve said Colorado will have to get contributions from people other than their guard duo. They did Wednesday, most noticeably from Levi Knutson. (St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin seemed to particularly enjoy shouting his name after a three-pointer.)
Knutson hit 6 of 8 threes against the Wildcats and, naturally, that type of shooting opens up the middle for teammates to penetrate. If everyone keys on Burks, they’ll limit him, but Colorado must do enough as a team to discourage it. So far they have.
The crowd against Missouri was not overwhelming but definitely boisterous toward the end, as Colorado tried to pull away. Clearly they were energized by some of the best basketball they’ve seen from the Buffs in years. It should be an even better crowd Saturday.
Tough pick. I don’t think Oklahoma State is as bad as their huge loss to Texas A&M might suggest. And I don’t think Colorado is the new Big 12 favorite. But where do the disadvantages jump out at you? Who needs to make more adjustments? I would say the Oklahoma State side. OSU needs to make Burks work harder to get buckets, and that can lead to turnovers if they’re successful.
I like Colorado in a very close game, probably in the 70s. A win gives the Buffaloes a great chance of facing Kansas on January 25 with a 5-0 conference record. I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.