Oklahoma State at No. 2 Kansas
• WHEN/WHERE: 3 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence
• TV/RADIO: KMCI (Ch. 38); KCSP (610 AM)
• ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (14-5, 4-3 Big 12): The Cowboys have started slow in conference play, but theyve also had to grind through a tough early schedule. Their three losses came on the road against K-State, Oklahoma and Baylor, and their three wins came at home. Freshman guard Marcus Smart and sophomore swingman LeBryan Nash are former KU recruiting targets with NBA futures, and junior Markel Brown may be the most athletic player in the Big 12 not named Ben McLemore. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford can also bring freshman sharpshooter Phil Forte off the bench. Forte, who played with Smart in high school in Flower Mound, Texas, is the son of former KU football player Phil Forte Sr. and was also offered a scholarship by Kansas.
• ABOUT KANSAS (19-1, 7-0 Big 12): Just seven games into the Big 12 season, Kansas already has a full two-game lead in the conference title race. With a trip to conference bottom-feeder TCU coming up next Wednesday, Kansas is positioned for a 9-0 start if its holds serve against Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks have failed to score 70 points since their Big 12 opener against Iowa State on Jan. 9, a 97-89 victory at Allen Fieldhouse. KU will try to protect two long streaks: a nation-leading 18-game winning streak and a 33-game winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks also hold a 16-game winning streak against Oklahoma State at Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 1990.
• BOTTOM LINE: The Jayhawks are due for an offensive breakout, but senior guard Elijah Johnson will have a tough matchup against freshman Marcus Smart and the Cowboys scoring defense ranks fourth in the Big 12. KU may have to win with defense again.
| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com