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Picks, Point Spread, Preview: What to Know for OSU vs. Liberty

How to prep for OSU’s first round game on Friday.

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Big 12 pool photo via Denny Medley

The haters said it wouldn’t happen, but by gosh, by golly, it’s happening: Oklahoma State is dancing. As the program appeals its postseason ban through the NCAA, it is eligible so long as the NCAA has not formally responded. (And spoiler: the NCAA has not formally responded.)

That means its First Round NCAA Tournament matchup will go down Friday as the Cowboys faces 13-seed Liberty.

It is OSU’s first March Madness appearance since Brad Underwood’s one-and-done season in 2016-17 (making it Mike Boynton’s first on the big stage). After a 20-8 season, the Pokes draw a 23-5 Liberty team that’s won 12-straight and 19 of its last 21.

Here is what you need to know beforehand to tune in, including picks from the PFB team.


Picks

• Spread (KenPom): Oklahoma State -6

Marshall Scott: This is a fun matchup of styles. Liberty likes to play slow, OSU likes to play quickly. OSU has primarily played a 2-3 zone defense this year, and Liberty shoots the 3 well. Meanwhile, Liberty plays a Virginia-esque pack line defense daring teams to shoot over it, and the Pokes aren’t a particularly good 3-point shootings team.

With that said, I think OSU’s length and athleticism forces the pace of play to a speed Liberty can’t keep up with, but as all OSU games have been, it’ll still be close-ish.

Pick: Oklahoma State 79, Liberty 71

Kyle Boone: This will not be an easy one for Oklahoma State. It has the best player, far more length, a decent size advantage and enough skill in Cade’s left arm to outdo all of Liberty’s roster. But Liberty is a methodical, grind-it-out team that knows its identity: It shoots 3s at an elite level and grinds games to a halt. If they are able to play their style and assert themselves, OSU could be in for a war.

Pick: Oklahoma State 77, Liberty 74

Kyle Cox: I think this one comes down to the Cowboys imposing their will on the Flames. Liberty doesn’t like to run and doesn’t turn it over that much, but they also aren’t accustomed to the likes (and lengths) of Rondel Walker and Avery Anderson tipping and diving on loose balls at midcourt. If the Pokes can fan the Flames, and get out in transition, I think they cover.

Pick: Oklahoma State 78, Liberty 70


Viewing information

• Tip time: 5:25 p.m. Friday

• Location: Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis

• Channel: TBS

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