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Hoops Preview: Cowboys’ Tough Noncon Schedule Continues Against Nebraska

OSU looks to right the ship after a weeklong break.

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STILLWATER — On a three-game losing streak, the Cowboys schedule won’t get any easier Sunday in a date with Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers are 8-2 and ranked 25th in the Coaches Poll. Oklahoma State had a week off and will enter Sunday’s game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at full strength for the first time this season, as Indiana transfer Curtis Jones will be available for the first time since he got to OSU midway through last season. You can read more about Jones here, but here are some more notes to follow entering OSU’s 10th game of the season.

Viewing Info

Time: 6 p.m. Sunday
Location: Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
TV: Big Ten Network

Projected Lineups
Oklahoma State Class PPG RPG APG BPG SPG
Isaac Likekele Freshman 8.2 4.7 3.9 0.3 1.4
Thomas Dziagwa Junior 11.9 3.7 2.2 0 1
Lindy Waters Junior 12.1 4.8 3.2 0.2 1.7
Cameron McGriff Junior 13.9 7 1.4 0.9 1.1
Yor Anei Freshman 6 3.4 0.4 2.8 0.3
Nebraska Class PPG RPG APG BPG SPG
James Palmer Senior 18.7 3.8 2.7 0.7 1
Glynn Watson Senior 14.4 4.2 3.8 0.1 1.2
Thomas Allen Sophomore 8.1 2.6 2.4 0.2 1.8
Isaiah Roby Junior 9.6 5.7 2.1 1.5 1.5
Isaac Copeland Senior 14.9 6.1 1.5 1 1.3
Last Five

Oklahoma State

Opponent Result Score
vs. Villanova L 77-58
vs. LSU W 90-77
at Minnesota L 83-76
at Tulsa L 74-71
vs. Houston L 63-53

Nebraska

Opponent Result Score
vs. Western Illinois W 73-49
at Clemson W 68-66
vs. Illinois W 75-60
at Minnesota L 85-74
vs. Creighton W 94-75

 

Nebraska’s Experience

A lot has been said about OSU’s lack of experience this season. That’s not a problem for Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers rank 52nd in the country in experience, according to KenPom. That ranking is sixth among Power Five schools. Nebraska boasts four seniors and three juniors. Since the Cornhuskers’ senior class got to campus, Nebraska is 58-50. In their first two season, Nebraska finished below .500 before finishing 22-11 last season. The Cornhuskers are 8-2 so far this season.

“They’ve got a team that’s played together,” Boynton said. “And they are probably playing with a little bit of hunger. A lot of those guys, this is their last go-around. They’ve helped kinda reinvigorate the fanbase in Lincoln, and Coach (Tim) Miles has done a great job of getting the program back to where it’s really competitive again. I think they’re certainly a team that’s capable of having success late in March because of the experience. So, we’ve got to overcome that by not making some mistakes that hurt ourselves.”

Boynton Focusing on Individual Growth

Mike Boynton has spent the past week having hourlong film sessions with each of his players individually.

With finals week in the books, Boynton said he has seen teams grow a lot in the weeks of winter break, as there are no longer classes to worry about until the spring semester. So, nine games in, Boynton has each individual Cowboy looking inward.

“How do we get better? If each individual guy gets better, we’re better as a team,” Boynton said. “If I get better as a coach, we’re better as a team. If our staff is better in practice, we’re better as a team. It’s all about personal accountability now.”

Kentrevious Jones’ Growing Pains

Kentrevious Jones hasn’t played since OSU’s loss to Minnesota on Nov. 30.

Jones has played only 50 minutes this season where he has scored eight points and brought in 11 rebounds, but he also has four turnovers and 13 personal fouls. Thomas Dziagwa has played 262 minutes this season and has only seven personal fouls.

Jones became a fan favorite in the offseason after dropping more than 50 pounds since he got to campus, but on the court, his season has started a little slowly.

On Thursday, Boynton said the adjustment to college hoops isn’t something unique to the Cowboys. He said there are plenty of freshmen around the country who haven’t quite figured it all out yet.

Here was Boynton’s response when asked how Jones has handled not getting many minutes.

“Not easy, and I don’t expect him to,” Boynton said. “I do expect him to have a good attitude when he shows up to practice to do something about it. I want him to play, too. I want them all to play 35 minutes. It’s just not possible. There’s only 200 of them. His time will come if he continues to work the way he has and continues to believe in himself.

“One of the hardest things for young kids is for me to tell him he’s doing good things in practice, and then I don’t put him in the game because he’s like, ‘Those two things don’t make sense, coach.’ I’m like, ‘Well, you’re doing things better than you were. You’re not doing things to the level which I think you can help us win games, yet.’ There’s a big difference between that, and we have to shorten that gap between the number of things he’s got to improve on and the number of opportunities that he’ll have to be on the court to help us win.”