Sooners Star Young Will Get His, but Take K-State at Home to Cover

Matthew Jordan

Monday, January 15, 2018 5:57 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 5:57 PM UTC

Just one game from the Big 12 on Tuesday’s NCAA basketball schedule, but it’s a good one as freshman superstar Trae Young and No. 4 Oklahoma visit Kansas State (9 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners at Kansas State WildcatsFree NCAAB Pick: K-StateBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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OU and Kansas State tip off at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPNU from Manhattan.

Is there any doubt that the Big 12 is the nation’s deepest basketball conference right now? I believe there are four legitimate Final Four contenders in Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia and Texas Tech – they are all ranked in the Top 10. Kansas State and TCU also have good shots at making the Big Dance and could make some noise. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index likes Kansas to win its 14th straight Big 12 title, by 0.2 wins over the surprising Red Raiders. Texas Tech is the only one to play all three of the other top-four teams so far.

Unlike the other Power 5 conferences, all the schools play each other twice during the regular season Big 12. Oklahoma will host Kansas State on Feb. 24. Last year, the schools split. The Wildcats beat the visiting Sooners (who weren’t very good) 75-64. Kansas State started out fast, opening a 14-3 lead and never looked back. It was Oklahoma’s fifth straight loss in Manhattan. In Norman, OU won 81-51. Khadeem Lattin had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. That was the 600th career win for Coach Lon Kruger.

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When your shot is pure 🔥. @thetraeyoung sunk 🔟 👌s yesterday - the second most in OU history. Which one was your favorite? pic.twitter.com/JVBoZHWbvG

— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 14, 2018
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Young Continues To Dazzle

All eyes as usual will be on Sooners freshman sensation Trae Young, the clear favorite for not just Big 12 Player of the Year but also the Wooden Award and any other national honors. The Norman native continues to lead the nation in scoring (30.1 ppg) and assists (9.9 apg). No player has ever led the country in both for a full season.

The Sooners (14-2 SU, 4-1 Big 12, 7-8 ATS) had a very tough schedule last week but beat both ranked TCU and Texas Tech in Norman. Young had 27 points and nine assists vs. the Red Raiders and then 43 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in Saturday’s OT win over the Horned Frogs. Young made 10 3-pointers, one short of the school record of 11 set by Brent Price against Loyola Marymount in 1990. No other player from a major conference in the previous two decades has had a game with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 3s in one game. Young was named Big 12 Player of the Week for a sixth time. That ties a conference record for a season. The career mark is eight by former Sooner Blake Griffin.

Young already holds the school single-season record for assists by a freshman and is the fourth player in Oklahoma history to score 40 points in a game at least twice. OU leads the nation in scoring at 93.6 ppg and has hit triple digits six times but also allows a ton of points (81.2, 331st). The team’s two losses were vs. Arkansas and at West Virginia. Young got his points in both games but didn’t get much help in either. He’s going to continue to be double-teamed.

Kansas State (12-5 SU, 2-3 Big 12, 5-9 ATS) has work to do to get worthy of an NCAA Tournament bid. The Wildcats have an RPI of 84 currently with zero wins in eight games vs. the RPI Top 50. KSU is 8-0 vs. teams ranked 150-plus. It will have plenty of time to improve that resume with so many ranked foes in the Big 12 remaining

Coach Bruce Weber’s team lost by one at rival Kansas on Saturday. Malik Newman had two free throws with 15 seconds left for the go-ahead points. Barry Brown's rushed 3-pointer from well beyond the arc was no good; Weber said the play was drawn up for junior forward Dean Wade, but Brown panicked. Wade led KSU with 22 points, his seventh career 20‐point game and third this season. KSU did about everything but win, shooting a better percentage, committing fewer turnovers and winning the battle of the boards. The Wildcats have now lost 12 straight at Allen Fieldhouse. K-State is 31-89 all-time against ranked Big 12 teams, including 8-51 on the road.

Weber is without starting guard Kamau Stokes indefinitely due to a foot injury. The junior was hurt on Jan. 6 at Texas Tech. He was averaging 13.4 points and 4.6 assists. Freshman Cartier Diarra has taken his starting spot and totaled 35 points the past two games.

The Sooners rarely play well in Manhattan and haven’t covered their past five there. Take KSU on your Tuesday NCAAB picks.

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