NCAA Basketball Picks: Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma in Big 12 Tournament

David Lawrence

Thursday, March 12, 2015 11:19 AM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 12, 2015 11:19 AM UTC

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are very likely to be in the NCAA tournament but just in case they don’t want to leave anyone worrying about their status heading into the selection of the 68 teams, they would like to beat the Oklahoma Sooners and put the matter completely to rest. The Sooners opened as a four-point favorite on the college basketball lines here.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys Can Win Because…
If Oklahoma State is going to win, there are a few weaknesses it can exploit in Oklahoma. The Sooners are next to last in the Big 12 in rebounding percentage, at 49.7. The Sooners also play a lot of isolation basketball, with players trying to break down their opposing defenders on the dribble. This cuts down on passing and helps explain why the Sooners are eighth in the Big 12 in assists, with only 12.7 per game. Oklahoma does go through periods of play in games when guys try to do too much by themselves and don’t get teammates involved in the offense. The Sooners can get stagnant, and so if Oklahoma State remains active on defense and provides adequate help on dribble penetration, the Cowboys could have a lot of success.

Oklahoma State is also a decent shooting team. The Cowboys were second in the Big 12 during the regular season in field goal shooting, at 44.3 percent. Oklahoma State was second in two-point shooting at 49.1 percent. You’ll see below that Oklahoma was second in the Big 12 in foul shooting, but Oklahoma State was first, at 73.1 percent. This team can hang with Oklahoma on several statistical fronts, and if the intensity is there, the Cowboys can certainly win.


The Oklahoma Sooners Can Win Because…
The Sooners’ guards are very tough defenders. It is hard to get past them on the dribble, and this is why the Sooners rate so well in so many defensive categories. Oklahoma moves very well on the wings and beats its opponents to spots on the floor. The Sooners are second in the Big 12 in both overall field goal shooting defense and three-point shooting defense. They are third in two-point field goal percentage defense. They are second in turnovers forced, with 13.9. They are first in the conference in points allowed per possession, at 0.985. In tight games, Oklahoma is second in the Big 12 and in the top 50 of the country in free throw shooting percentage, at 72.7. This team has a lot of attributes that lead to strong March performances.

Beyond all this, however, the Sooners are a team that matches up well with Oklahoma State. The Sooners won both games in the regular season. They won by 17 at home and then used a 39-24 second half to win by eight on Oklahoma State’s home floor. The Sooners, when they beat the Cowboys on the road, held Oklahoma State to 4 of 19 shooting from three-point distance. Oklahoma forced 16 Oklahoma State turnovers and limited the Cowboys to only five assists for the whole game. Oklahoma’s defense should be able to set the tone once again versus Oklahoma State. The Cowboys do not have nearly enough quickness in the backcourt to stay with OU’s guards, Jordan Woodward, Buddy Hield, and Isaiah Cousins.

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In the end, it’s hard to beat a team three times as Oklahoma is trying to do, but Oklahoma State might have one favorable positional matchup out of the five on the court. Oklahoma will win this game by three points. That means you can take the Cowboys plus the points with your NCAA Basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Oklahoma State +4 at The Greek

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