Oklahoma State (12-4) at Baylor (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, January 21, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: ESPN. Home Record: OSU 9-1, Baylor 8-2. Away Record: OSU 0-3, Baylor 2-2. Neutral Record: OSU 3-0, Baylor 2-1. Conference Record: OSU 2-2, Baylor 3-1. Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 50-19.
GAME NOTES: The Oklahoma State Cowboys will attempt to win their first true road game of the season, as they square off with the Baylor Bears in a Big 12 Conference showdown.
Oklahoma State spent most of the first two months of the season in the AP Top-25, but it has fallen from the ranks in recent weeks following losses to Gonzaga, Kansas State and Oklahoma. The Cowboys were able to rebound from their recent slide on Saturday when they made easy work of Texas Tech at home, 79-45, to improve to 2-2 in conference play.
Baylor was also on the positive end of a blowout decision on Saturday, as it stepped out of conference to dismantle Division III Hardin-Simmons, 107-38. It was the Bears' fourth win in their last five outings, and they now sit at 12-5 on the season.
Although Oklahoma State has a firm handle on the all-time series, 50-19, the Bears have won seven of the last 11 matchups.
The Cowboys thoroughly dominated their contest over the weekend, outshooting Texas Tech from the field 47.2 percent to 28.3 percent, and winning the rebounding battle, 43-26, on their way to a 34-point victory. Markel Brown shot 6-of-8 from the field en route to 21 points, while also handing out six assists. Phil Forte made 4-of-7 from 3-point range coming off the bench, and Philip Jurick grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots. On the season, Oklahoma State has played well at both the offensive (71.1 ppg) and defensive (57.4 ppg) ends of the court. Brown is the team's leading scorer with 15.2 ppg, and he fills the stat sheet elsewhere with 4.3 rpg, 2.0 apg and about a block and a steal per game. Marcus Smart is another multi-talented guard and has been one of the best freshmen in the country (13.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.4 apg, 2.8 spg). Rounding out OSU's balanced offensive attack is Le'Bryan Nash (13.3 ppg) and Forte (11.2 ppg).
It was an unfair fight from the start in Baylor's latest game against Hardin- Simmons, but the Bears did not disappoint in shooting 54.1 percent from the field in logging their highest point total of the season. Tauren Prince took advantage of extended playing time off the bench with career-highs 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Rico Gathers (10 points, 12 rebounds), Cory Jefferson (10 points, 12 rebounds), and L.J. Rose (14 points, 12 assists) all tallied double-doubles as well. Brady Heslip (15 points) and Deuce Bello (10 points) rounded out the near flawless performance for the Bears, which only helped their second-ranked Big 12 offense (.464 FG percentage, 76.6 ppg). Pierre Jackson has been outstanding in the backcourt, as he ranks first in the conference in scoring (18.6 ppg), second in assists (6.1), and third in steals (1.9). Baylor is also aided by one of the best forward tandems in the nation in Isaiah Austin and Jefferson. Austin puts up 14.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.2 bpg, and even stretches the floor with one 3-pointer per contest, and Jefferson (13.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg) shoots 60 percent from the field while swatting away 2.1 shots per contest.
Oklahoma State got back on track in its last game, but now it has to hit the road again where it has found no success this season. Baylor has the clear advantage in the frontcourt, which will help catapult it to the victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 73, Oklahoma State 66
01/21 10:54:28 ET