After impressive non-conference openings to their seasons, both the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Baylor Bears have struggled to repeat that same success in Big 12 play. The Cowboys are still in the top half of the conference standings at 4-3 while the Bears have been the most disappointing team in the conference with only a 1-6 record.
Oklahoma State has dropped two of their previous three Big 12 games against the conference leader Kansas Jayhawks and second place Oklahoma Sooners, both on the road. With one of the most talented big threes in the country with Markel Brown, Marcus Smart and LeBryan Nash, the Cowboys — on the outside looking in at the regular season conference title — can look to make a big push towards a high at-large seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament and will be a tough out in March.
For the Bears, the same can’t be said. The Bears have lost five straight conference games and six of seven. With all of the preseason expectations and a ranking as high as seventh in the nation, the Bears have been one of the major disappointments of the college basketball season. Still, the Bears boast the likes of Isaiah Austin, a projected first-round pick.
With all of the potential NBA talent on the court here in Stillwater, the game will come down to which sharpshooter can get hot from behind the three-point line. Both teams possess some of the best three-point shooters in the nation in Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte and Baylor’s Brady Heslip. Forte holds a clip of 49.6 percent from three-point range, leading the conference, and Heslip checks in at 47.5 percent which is second in conference.
Prediction: I fully expect the Cowboys to get back on track with a closer win against the Bears than most of the prognosticators would expect.