Both teams are coming off of huge Saturday wins leading up to tonight's 6PM game on ESPNU, a channel that has hosted approximately 110% of Baylor games this season. I may have to double-check the math, though.
Anyway, Baylor trounced West Virginia in Morgantown, and Oklahoma State stunned Kansas in Stillwater, coming back from an 11 point 2nd half deficit. To talk a little about how the Cowboys have been since they harassed Baylor in that awful, no good town of Stillwater, where Baylor dreams go to die, we got in touch with Josh Poteet of Cowboys Ride For Free. You can find his questions and my answers over here.
PC: Oklahoma State has won three of their last 4 games, including an OT win in Austin and a pretty stunning upset of Kansas in Stillwater. What’s been working so well for the Cowboys lately?
JP: When you really sit down and think about this team you recognize a couple things.
1 - They're not very good. They lack star power on the offensive side of the ball. They have a coach who doesn't understand how to run an offense tailored to his team.
2 - They make up for not being very good by playing tougher than anyone in the conference. They get the job done on defense and never back down from a street fight.
The past few games you've seen the Pokes knock off UT and KU as a result of stellar defense and team basketball. They were down 11 at the half against Kansas and came back in the second half by punching KU in the mouth repeatedly and never quitting. This team can be dangerous if they would ever learn how to score some points.
PC: Anthony Hickey Jr. in particular played really well against Kansas. How has his game grown as the season has progressed? How necessary is he to continued success for Oklahoma State?
JP: Hickey is such a great pickup for Travis Ford. Hickey wasn't supposed to be on this team but transferred here at the last minute from LSU. He's been everything and more that Travis Ford could've asked in regards to a defender and floor general. Anthony has improved in nearly every facet of the game except from the free-throw line where he shoots below 50 percent.
If the Cowboys want to continue finding success the Hickey will need to continue improving as he is the X-Factor and quiet leader of the Pokes.
PC: How do Oklahoma State fans feel about Travis Ford at the moment? He doesn’t have the best reputation, but it seems as though he’s got his team playing above expectations this season.
JP: This one is tough. You're asking this at a time where I'm really happy with Ford and what he's done this week. Overall, people are getting tired of Ford but then he beats Kansas. Ford does just enough to keep his job and keep the people quiet but doesn't do enough to win anything big. As for expectations, I think this is about what most people expected from this team. I know that I thought this year's team would be better than last years for many reasons. But yes, Ford has been better this year but even with that I doubt it's enough to keep his job.
PC: Last time these teams played, the three point shot made a big difference. Baylor shot just 30% from three, while the Cowboys shot 50%. How do you see that transferring now that home court is reversed?
JP: Now that there are no tarps in Waco and the Bears actually have an advantage at home, I think it's huge. But the Pokes shoot well wherever they go regardless of home or away. I don't think they'll shoot 50 percent but don't be shocked if they shoot around 40 percent for the evening. I think where it's huge is that Baylor will shoot better.
It's always easier to make shots when you're at home and I think we will see that on Monday. I expect Baylor to shoot around 45 percent from beyond the arc.
PC: What prediction do you have for this game? Will Oklahoma State still have some road mojo left over from Austin, or will Baylor find its shooting stroke while Rico Gathers continues to munch on glass?
JP: As much as I'd like to see the Pokes win I just can't see it happening. This team is absolutely dead with exhaustion after the KU game. The win over Kansas was great but I think that as a result the Pokes get stomped in Waco on Monday.
Give me the tarps, uhh I mean the Bears, 77-71.
Thanks again to Josh for chatting with us, even if he did make terrible, terrible tarp jokes.