Oklahoma State at Cincinnati Preview

The Bearcats (16-9, 5-7) return to Fifth Third Arena Wednesday night for a 7 pm tip off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-14, 3-9).

While the Cowboys are coming off an impressive 93-83 home win over 19th-ranked BYU, Coach Mike Boynton's team has lost seven straight games on the road. 

Cincinnati will look to string together back-to-back conference wins for the first time this season following Saturday's 76-74 road win over UCF.

Key Stats and Notes

Prior to Oklahoma State's 66-62 loss at Oklahoma on February 10th, the Cowboys’ six road losses in Big 12 play had been by 16 points or more.

- OSU is averaging 23.2 free throw attempts per game, while limiting its opponents to a league-low 14.6. While Oklahoma State gets to the line, they are last in the league in free throw percentage (67.9)

- Cincinnati's defense is allowing only 4.4 three-point makes over the last five games. For the season, it is 22nd nationally with a 95.7 KenPom rating and sixth in the Big 12. Oklahoma State is fourth in the league in 3-point field goal makes per game (8.7) and seventh in 3-point FG percentage (34.7).

- Oklahoma State is 111th in the Kenpom ratings. OSU ranks 97th in adjusted defense and 133rd in adjusted offense. The Cowboys are 12th in the Big 12 in both points per game (71.3) and points allowed per game (70.9)

- Cincinnati's 9.3 rebounding margin leads the Big 12 while the Cowboys rank 13th in the Big 12 with a 1.4 rebounding margin.

(Photo: Oklahoma State Athletics)

Players to Watch:

6'3 Junior G Javon Small

Small is a dynamic point guard that can both score and facilitate. An East Carolina transfer, Small is the leading scorer for the Cowboys (14.2 ppg) and leads the team in free throw percentage (85.9 percent). The free throw percentage is good for fifth in the league. The South Bend native is also averaging 5.1 rebounds per game and 4.6 assists per game.

Small is an attacking guard that likes to get down hill and draw contact but has also shown the ability to be efficient from 3-point range as well. Small is currently knocking down 39.2 percent of his 3-point attempts. 

6'8 Freshman F Eric Dailey Jr

Dailey is a strong, versatile forward who was rated as high as No. 35 in the Class of 2023 after winning multiple Gold Medals with the USA junior national team. 

Dailey averages 8.7 points per game and pulls down 4.8 rebounds per game. The freshman has been held to four or fewer points in four of his last five games. Dailey has been efficient around the rim, converting 47.7 percent of his field goal attempts, but hasn't shown to be a consistent threat from outside or from the free throw line.

6'1 Grad Student John-Michael Wright 

Wright has the ability to play on or off the ball and has a reputation as simply being a shot maker. Wright enters his final season as one of the NCAA’s active leaders in career points (1,852) and minutes (3,982). 

After being held scoreless against Kansas on January 16th, Wright has scored in double figures in eight straight games and is averaging just under 13 points per game during that stretch. Wright has done his damage from both the free throw line and 3-point line during his recent hot streak. 

6'11 Freshman C Brandon Garrison

Garrison was a consensus four star recruit in the 2023 class and was named a McDonald's All American. The 2023 Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year is currently averaging 7.7 points per game and pulling down 5.6 rebounds per game. 

Garrison leads the team in field goal percentage (58.2) and is coming off his best game of the year after scoring 21 points in the upset win over BYU.

6'5 Sophomore G Quion Williams 

Williams enters Wednesday night's game against UC averaging 7.0 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game, which is tied for the team lead with Garrison.

The former Arkansas 5A state MVP saw an increased role over the final month of his freshman season and he has seen some of that success transition to his sophomore season. Over the past four games, Williams has posted double-doubles against Oklahoma (12 pts, 10 rbs) and Kansas State (17 pts, 10 rbs) while also scoring 15 points against BYU.

Not much of a 3-point threat, Williams is at his best when getting to the rim for easy finishes.

6'3 Freshman G Jamyron Keller

Keller is another talented freshman guard on this OSU roster. The former 5A Texas player of the year scored more than 2,500 points during his high school career and is best know as a tough competitor who can shoot, get down hill, and create for others. 

Keller is currently averaging 6 points per game but has been extremely efficient from the field (55.2 percent) after seeing an increased role over the last four games. Keller was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field and 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in a 22 point performance against BYU.

6'4 Grad Student Jarius Hicklen

Hicklen is an experienced, high-level shot-making guard who tallied 1,300 career points during two years at both North Florida and Oklahoma Baptist.

Hicklen is currently leading the team in 3-point field goal percentage (39.2) but averages just 5.3 points per game.

Final Thoughts

Oklahoma State has a nice nucleus to build around for the future but haven't shown an ability to win on the road as the Cowboys are talented, but young and inexperienced.

Going against a team that has multiple bigs with different body types and skill sets to match up against Garrison, it will be interesting to see how the freshman responds to the physical style that Cincinnati plays at both ends of the floor. 

At the end of the day, this is not a game the Bearcats should lose. Vegas has Wes Miller's team favored by 10.5 points with the over/under set at 139.5 . UC should win their second consecutive Big 12 game for the first time this season. The Cats should have an advantage on the boards and off the bench with their depth being a factor late in the game.  

Oklahoma State leads the all-time series 3-2, but are 0-2 playing in Cincinnati with the most recent match up being a 63-52 win by the Bearcats in 2003.


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