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CBB Preview Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

January 26, 2009

College Basketball - (4) Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma State Cowboys (Monday 9:00 ET)

By Matt Fargo

Oklahoma St. is solid at home as it currently sits at 9-1 inside Gallagher IBA Arena. The one loss happened to come in its last game against Missouri by just a bucket so the Cowboys will be out to reclaim their floor and what better way than in the 'Bedlam' against Oklahoma.

This will obviously be the toughest opponent to come to Stillwater this season but I like the way that the Cowboys enter this game.

They won on Saturday at a very tough Devaney Center against the Huskers in overtime and that was an absolutely huge win as coming into this game with three straight losses would have been disaster.

Oklahoma St. lost both meetings to Oklahoma last season and when that happened in 2006, the first meeting in 2007 was taken by the Cowboys at home so the situations are very similar.

Oklahoma has won seven games in a row following its lone loss of the season at Arkansas. Only two of those seven games were played on the road and neither came against teams ranked better than Oklahoma St.

The Sooners do a lot of good things obviously but there are weaknesses that the Cowboys can run with and I will go over those down further.

Oklahoma has looked vaguely human away from the Lloyd Noble Center. In their last three road games, the Sooners lost at Arkansas, won by eight at Kansas State and six at Texas A&M.

The Sooners will have the height and depth advantage but the backcourt favors the Cowboys and their trapping system that features four guards and no starter bigger than 6'8 Malcoln Kirkland.

The Cowboys are a dangerous three-point shooting team as they are hitting 41.5 percent from long range which is third best in the country. Oklahoma is hitting 35.3 percent which is tied for 125th.

Both defenses allow just over 34 percent shooting from behind the arc so the edge goes to the Cowboys here. If they get hot, this game could turn into a long one for Oklahoma which no one is expecting. The Sooners do not want another close game but that is probably not going to come true for them.

The reason is that if it comes down to free throws, the Cowboys have the clear advantage. Oklahoma is hitting 67.4 percent from the stripe which is average while the Cowboys are hitting 72.4 percent from the line.

The real edge is in the home/road numbers. Oklahoma St. is shooting 78.5 percent from the free throw line at home compared to a dismal 55.5 percent for the Sooners on the road.

To put those percentages into perspective, Oklahoma St. is 10th in the country in home free throw shooting percentage while Oklahoma is 341st in road free throw percentage. Those can easily make or break a game, especially a game of this stature.

As mentioned, there is revenge on the line but the Cowboys will have a little extra in the tank based on last season's post game comments.

Sooners coach Jeff Capel's win in Stillwater last year produced a candid camera quote to his team: "Hurry up and take a shower and get the hell out of this hell-hole." Says Cowboy guard Byron Eaton: "That's really just downsizing us as a university. But that's just more ammunition to us."

As mentioned, the three-point shooting could be the key and Oklahoma is just 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games against teams that makes 41 percent or more of their long range attempts.

The Sooners are also only 17-35-2 ATS in their last 54 road games making that road free throw shooting percentage that much more worrisome. An outright upset is in the makings for tonight.

Pick: Oklahoma State +3.5 (-104) available at 5Dimes.com.

Check out the college basketball betting forum for more picks, predictions and information.


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