No. 3 Kansas at Oklahoma State
WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.
TV/RADIO: ESPN2; KCSP (610 AM)
ABOUT KANSAS (15-2, 4-1 Big 12): Kansas coach Bill Self was pleased with the play of freshman big men Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo during the Jayhawks’ 70-63 victory over TCU on Saturday. In the moments after the game, he hinted that both players could see their roles increased in the coming weeks. Bragg is averaging 11.2 minutes per game, while Diallo is up to 9.5 minutes per game after playing a career-high 21 minutes on Saturday. During Monday’s Big 12 teleconference, Self drew a minor distinction between Bragg and Diallo, saying Bragg could gain some confidence from increased playing time while Diallo still had stuff he could learn in practice as well as games. “A lot of things are really new in practice, too,” Self said of Diallo. “He’s very young in the game, so I think the game minutes will certainly give him some confidence, but practices are just as important as games for Cheick.” In the backcourt, junior guard Wayne Selden is finally shooting like a mortal. In five Big 12 games, Selden is shooting 43 percent (13 of 30) from three-point range. For the season, Selden is now shooting 49 percent from behind the arc.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (9-8, 1-4 Big 12): Senior guard Phil Forte Jr. was supposed to be the Cowboys’ leading man before an elbow ligament injury derailed his season. Freshman guard Jawun Evans is filling the void. Evans, a top-40 recruit from Dallas, had a career-high 42 points in a 74-72 loss to Oklahoma last Wednesday. He’s averaging 12.4 points per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three-point range. His ascension, though, hasn’t changed the greater outlook in Stillwater. The Cowboys have lost four straight in the Big 12 and project to finish somewhere in the bottom half of the league. To be fair, Oklahoma State has started with a grueling portion of the schedule. They have already traveled to West Virginia, Baylor and Texas while playing host to Oklahoma. The only conference victory came against TCU at home. With Forte likely out for the season — in hopes of securing a medical redshirt — the Cowboys’ issue have largely been on offense. They rank 124th nationally in offensive efficiency and are shooting just 33 percent from three-point range. “We’re just playing in spurts too much right now,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “We need to try to figure out how to put a 40-minute game together.”