The Kansas Jayhawks will keep trying to break out of their slump when they host the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Big Monday. Tipoff scheduled for 9 pm EST. At home, the Jayhawks are 4.5-point favorites with the over/under for the game set at 140.5 points.
Kansas fell to West Virginia over the weekend, meaning Bill Self’s team has dropped five of its last seven games. The Jayhawks are just 12-7 overall and 6-5 inside the Big 12. The Big 12 is one of the country’s deepest conferences, so 6-5 isn’t a bad record. However, the Jayhawks see their NCAA Tournament seed plummet and need to get back on track quickly.
Of course, while Kansas is struggling, Oklahoma State is riding high after a double-overtime upset win over Texas on Saturday. After losing a close game to TCU during the week, it was a great bounce-back effort by the Cowboys. At 12-5 overall and 5-5 inside the Big 12, Oklahoma State looks like a good bet to make the NCAA Tournament. However, the Cowboys will look to keep building their resume by avenging a 75-70 loss to Kansas last month.
Back in the Groove
After missing a couple of games for COVID-related reasons, OSU star freshman Cade Cunningham appears to be back in the groove. He’s averaged close to 20 points per game in his three games back. He’s also been a useful rebounder for the Cowboys this season and has been key in clutch situations. On the other hand, turnovers have been a problem for the talented freshman at times this season.
Fortunately for Oklahoma State, they have a solid supporting cast around Cunningham. Isaac Likekele can help Cunningham with the ball-handling duties while also being the team’s leading rebounder and a capable scorer despite not being a great shooter. With seven players in their rotation who average over eight points per game, Oklahoma State has plenty of potential scorers who can take advantage of Cunningham and Likekele being such accomplished passer.
Despite the loss to West Virginia over the weekend, the Jayhawks appear to be moving in the right direction. They had all five starters score at least 10 points, including freshman forward Jalen Wilson, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds against a top-25 team despite struggling in recent weeks. Fellow forward David McCormack is also coming around, coming up one rebound shy of his second straight double-double.
However, the Jayhawks aren’t getting much production outside of their five top scorers. Among that group, Marcus Garrett and Christian Braun have been prone to cold spells and inconsistency this season. Without more depth coming off the bench, the Jayhawks can’t afford Ochai Agbaji to be their only backcourt scoring threat. That means they need more consistency from Garrett and Braun.
Still in the Slump
Despite an improved offensive effort against West Virginia, the Jayhawks still lost and don’t look ready yet to snap out of their slump. The Kansas defense has struggled against quality opponents this season, and with lingering concerns about their consistency on offense, it’s hard to feel confident about Kansas winning and covering. Bet on Oklahoma State to beat the 4.5-point spread on the road.