Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Familiar foes meet in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Big 12 Conference Tournament, as the sixth-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys tangle with the third-seeded Oklahoma Sooners at the Sprint Center.
The winner of this bout will advance to Friday's semifinals to face either seventh-seeded Texas or No. 2 seed Iowa State.
Despite losing five of its final six games, Oklahoma State is hoping for a revival of sorts as the team is just two wins shy of 20 for the season. The Cowboys, who went 8-10 in conference play, won back-to-back Big 12 Tournament titles in 2004 and 2005, and they own a 23-16 record in the event all-time.
Oklahoma enters the postseason having won four of its last five games, and the team features a slew of talented players, including a pair of Big 12 award winners. The Sooners are 20-15 all-time in this event, and they have the second-most Big 12 Tournament titles of any team with three, winning them all in succession from 2001-03.
These two teams have met three times previously in the Big 12 Tournament, with the Cowboys winning each one. Overall however, the Sooners lead the all-time series, 133-95, and they have won six of the last seven meetings, including a pair during the 2014-15 regular season.
Despite being the best free-throw shooting team in the Big 12 (.731) and one of its best from the floor overall (.443), Oklahoma State has been mediocre in terms of offensive production (67.9 ppg). The Cowboys' defensive stance typically allows for just 62.3 ppg, and they rank second in the league in steals (8.03 per game) and third in turnover margin (+1.7). OSU boasts two double-digit scorers in Le'Bryan Nash (16.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Phil Forte (15.5 ppg), and a third, Anthony Hickey (9.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.5 apg), is close to joining them.
Led by Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield (league-best 17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Oklahoma is certainly one of the teams that could challenge for the tournament crown, although help will need come from the supporting cast. Namely double- digit scorers Isaiah Cousins (12.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg), TaShawn Thomas (11.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Ryan Spangler (10.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg). Thomas was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year for his efforts this season. As a team, Oklahoma is putting 72.4 ppg to rank third in the conference, while its average yield of 63.1 ppg has it ranked fifth. The Sooners are right there with the Pokes with regard to foul shooting (.727), and they rank second in the league in both field goal percentage defense (.384) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.313).