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Hoops Preview: Cowboys Head to Florida for AdvoCare Invitational

Taking a look at OSU’s upcoming tournament with an update on Mike Cunningham.



STILLWATER — The Cowboys will spend their Thanksgiving on the hardwood in Florida as part as the AdvoCare Invitational.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton and his squad got a practice in, in Stillwater on Tuesday before flying to the Sunshine State. The Cowboys are guaranteed three games in Florida, starting with Memphis on Thursday. The Cowboys will play again Friday, have Saturday off and play again Sunday.

Viewing Info

Time: 2:30 p.m. Thursday
HP Field House

Projected Lineups
Oklahoma State Class PPG RPG APG BPG SPG
Isaac Likekele Freshman 10.3 5 4.3 0.7 1.7
Thomas Dziagwa Junior 15 4.3 2.3 0 1.3
Lindy Waters Junior 13.7 5 3 0 1.3
Duncan Demuth Freshman 2.7 4.3 0.3 0.7 0.7
Cameron McGriff Junior 17 7.7 1.3 0.3 1.3
Alex Lomax Freshman 8.3 4.3 3.3 0.3 2
Tyler Harris Freshman 14 2 1 0 0.7
Jeremiah Martin Senior 17.7 3 3 0.7 1.3
Kyvon Davenport Senior 16.7 7.3 0.3 0.3 0.7
Isaiah Maurice Junior 5.3 4.3 0.3 1.3 0
The Field

The AdvoCare Invitational field includes two nationally ranked team in No. 14 Florida State and No. 19 LSU, as well as the defending national champ Villanova.


Villanova has had a tough go of it to start the season, losing to Michigan and Furman from the Southern Conference. While OSU might be in the most tightly contested first-round matchup, the Cowboys are on the other side of the bracket than the two ranked teams. Despite its .500 record, Villanova is has the second best adjusted efficiency margin. A KenPom stat, adjusted efficiency margin is the number of points a team would be expected to outscore the average Division I opponent across 100 possessions. At this point in the season, the stat has a lot to do with projections, as there havn’t been many games worth of data.

Canisius, out of the MAAC, is the only team in the field with a record in the negative, as combined AdvoCare Invitational teams enter the tournament with a 20-7 record.

Here are some team stats ordered by adjusted efficiency margin.

Team Record Point Per Game Points Allowed Per Game AdjEM AdjEM National Rank
No. 14 Florida State 3-0 84.7 63.3 +22.22 8
Villanova 2-2 75 69.8 +18.47 23
No. 19 LSU 4-0 87.5 74.3 +12.83 46
Oklahoma State 2-1 72 61.3 +10.73 64
Memphis 2-1 87 82.7 +5.3 111
Charleston 3-1 71.5 68 +5.27 113
UAB 3-0 75.7 60.7 +0.02 162
Canisius 1-2 69.7 80.3 -1.59 177
Memphis Rundown

Memphis, OSU’s first-round opponent, enters the tournament giving up the most amount of points as any team in the field, but the Tigers have also scored the second most.

The Tigers went to double-overtime in their most recent game, where they defeated Yale, 109-102. Memphis’ only loss this season came against LSU, another AdvoCare Invitational team. LSU defeated Memphis 85-76.

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway is in his first season coaching the Tigers. Hardaway is a Memphis alum, who spent 15 seasons in the NBA, making four All-Star games.

“They’re really athletic,” Boynton said. “You can tell they have an NBA-style approach to the way they play. They scored 109 the other day in a win. It was double-overtime, but still 109 is 109. They can score in bunches. They get after you defensively, and they play with a lot of pride.”

Projecting Anei’s Blocks

Yor Anei is #OnPaceGuy to breaking OSU’s freshman season blocks record for a freshman.

Anei has seven blocks through three games, and if he were to keep that pace, he would finish the regular season with 72 stuffs, beating Byron Houston’s freshman record of 65.

Here are OSU’s current historic freshmen block leaders.

Player Blocks Season
Byron Houston 65 1988-89
Michael Cobbins 49 2011-12
Joe Atkinson 48 1981-82
Ivan McFarlin 36 2001-02
Andre Williams 35 1999-00

Only 46 minutes into his collegiate career, Anei is only going to get better, Boynton said.

“He’s playing off just natural athletic instincts rights now,” Boynton said. “Once he figures out where he’s supposed to be, he’ll be even better at it. … I think he’s gonna be a really, really dynamic defensive player for a long time.”

Weathers, Likekele Sharing the Floor

In OSU’s first two games this season, freshman Isaac Likekele was the Cowboys only true point guard who picked up meaningful minutes.

Against Charleston on Sunday, Michael Weathers saw his minutes increase, and Likekele and Weathers even shared the floor with each other at times. Boynton said having Likekele and Weathers on the floor at the same time gives the team more than simply having two ballhandlers.

“We’re probably our most dynamic defensively (with Weathers and Likekele on the floor),” Boynton said. “They’re both uncannily long for guards in terms of their wingspans and ability to contest shots. At the rim and on the perimeter, they both can challenge 3-point shots over smaller guards. They both rebound really well, so they can ignite the break without getting an outlet pass.

“Then, they’re our two better playmakers in terms of when our offense is stagnant or breaks down, you can find a way to get them into a ball screen or spread the floor, and they can create offense for you.”

Boynton compared the pair to the Cowboys point guards from last season, Kendall Smith and Brandon Averette. Boynton said Smith and Averette were both scoring-minded guards, whereas Weathers and Likekele are longer guys who can pass.

Boynton said the team’s third point guard, graduate transfer Mike Cunningham, would practice full tilt Tuesday for the first time in about two weeks. Cunningham has dealt with a bum hamstring and hasn’t played this season.

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