Not much has happened (basketball-wise, that is, I did go see INLAND EMPIRE) since I last proffered charts and numbers such as you'll find below. Mildly encouraging wins over Boston College and at South Carolina do suggest a basic competence that the Jayhawks lacked earlier in the season. Though I think they're overrated by the pollsters and pundits (Only one loss! And only by two points against Tennessee!) who ignore the narrow nature of their best wins (the parenthetical numbers are the margin of victory/loss per 100 possessions taken from Oklahoma State's at-risk profile):
Wins: vs. Auburn (+2), vs. Missouri State (+6), vs. Syracuse (+4), vs. Ball State (+33), vs. Pittsburgh (+4) Loss: vs. Tennessee (-5)
Three of their five road/neutral wins were by a slimmer margin than their forgivably narrow loss. I figure the Cowboys (sans Obi Muonelo) to be the third- or fourth-best team in the Big 12 depending on the good health of their remaining players and whether or not Rick Barnes gets his team to play something approaching even mediocre defense.
For comparison's sake, here's Kansas's at-risk won/lost information:
Wins: vs. Ball State (+25), vs. Florida (+7), vs. Toledo (+16), @South Carolina (+25) Losses: Oral Roberts (-14), @DePaul (-11)
Time for tables.
KU OFFENSE v. OSU DEFENSE
Oklahoma State struggled defensively against some good offensive teams (Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Missouri State) earlier this year, but their poor performance at home against Baylor in their Big 12 opener (1.10 points allowed per possession) suggests that they may be black-sliding toward last year's disappointing level of team defensive performance (Marcus Dove very much excepted). In point of fact and belying the reputation of Suttons pere et fils, Oklahoma State hasn't been a good defensive team since Tony Allen graduated.
The only significant difference in Oklahoma State's defensive profile in at-risk games relative to all games is that they force 20-percent fewer turnovers in their at-risk games. Offensively, Kansas has been slightly worse in each of the four factors in their at-risk games.
OSU OFFENSE v. KU DEFENSE
Oklahoma State are a good offensive team but they have yet to play a defense as unforgiving as the Jayhawks expect to be tonight. The main concern for Kansas will be keeping the Cowboys (especially Mario Boggan and his 78.9% free throw shooting) off the line.
As with their defense, Oklahoma State's offense sees the sharpest performance difference between all games and their at-risk games (which have all been road/neutral games at this point--the Cowboys haven't beaten anybody of note at home nor lost to a team they should have beaten in Gallgher-Iba) in their turnover rate. They turn the ball over about 15% more often away from home.
Byron Eaton remains the Cowboy most likely to give the ball away and it has only gotten worse for Mr. Eaton as his role has expanded in Obi Muonelo's absence. Eaton has turned the ball over 9.4 times per 100 possessions over the last five games (as a point of comparison that's slightly more often than Julian Wright and Sahsa Kaun have turned it over combined so far this year).
As they did last season, Kansas should matchup well against Mario Boggan (by forcing him to shoot over Sasha Kaun or pass out of double teams) and Brandon Rush should complicate matters for JamesOn Curry (who has been turning the ball over much more often himself since Muonelo's injury), but, unlike last season (wherein Oklahoma State scored 0.66 and 0.88 points per possession in their two meetings against Kansas), the rest of the Cowboy team is more capable offensively.
However, unlike either game last year, tonight's is being played at Allen Fieldhouse which should further limit Oklahoma State's thin margin for error.
Prediction: Kansas 73 Oklahoma State 62
Game-by-game and individual Kansas stats after the jump...
INDIVIDUAL REBOUNDING AND DEFENSE