Opponent preview: What to know about Oklahoma State

first_imgSyracuse (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) travels to Brooklyn, New York for a matchup with Oklahoma State (5-0) on Wednesday. The first game of a series of two games in the Barclays Center will determine who and when the Orange will play Friday night. Here’s what to know about the Cowboys ahead of the matchup.All-time series: Oklahoma State leads, 3-2Last time they played: On Dec. 5, 2006, the Orange lost by four points, 72-68, to the Cowboys at the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden. Then-SU star Demetris Nichols scored 26 points, but SU was undone by two 20-point performances by the Cowboys in the close loss. The game marked Syracuse’s second-straight loss to a ranked opponent.The Oklahoma State report: The Cowboys are the first team in KenPom’s top-50 teams that SU has played since the first game of the season against Virginia. The Cowboys also have a strikingly similar team to the Orange. Both teams employ a middling offense and strong defense. Oklahoma State also has a size advantage compared to previous teams the Orange have faced. Every player in its starting lineup is at least 6-foot-4.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMore than half the Cowboys points come from 2-point range, per KenPom, and their 3-point rate ranks 270th in the nation five games into the season. Without a go-to scorer, OSU relies on a three-pronged scoring attack. Guard Lindy Waters III leads the team with 13 points per game, but is followed closely by guard Isaac Likekele (12.2) and forward Yor Anei (11.4). The Cowboys are most effective on the defensive end. They hold opponents to the 30th-lowest effective field goal percentage in the nation (42.4%) and have the second-highest block rate in the country (20.3%). Only Syracuse blocks a higher percentage of shots.How Syracuse beats OSU: The Cowboys have some of the best 3-point defense in the country. Syracuse shoots a lot of 3-pointers. Though this shapes up to be a bad thing for the Orange, there’s a possibility that OSU hasn’t seen a 3-point shooting attack like SU’s so far in the season.If the Orange convert on their shots early like they did against Bucknell, there’s a chance the Cowboys don’t have the offensive firepower to fight their way back into the game. Syracuse cannot be one-dimensional, though. If SU can continue its inside and outside offensive proficiency that it showed against the Bison Wednesday, then that could be enough to keep the game out of reach from an Oklahoma State team that relies on good defense to gain its edge.Stat to know: 36.0% — The percentage of points opponents score against Oklahoma State on 3-pointers. Though OSU limits opponents to 25.7% shooting from beyond the arc, a good chunk of opponents’ points are still scored from the outside. That could mean Oklahoma State’s 3-point percentage is more a result of poor shooting, not swarming defense.KenPom odds: Syracuse has a 53% chance to win the game Wednesday, with a final score prediction of 65-64 per KenPom.Player to watch: Anei, No. 14, forwardThe tallest player on the Cowboys roster is also their best rebounder and among their best scorers. But where Anei makes his biggest impact is interior defense. Anei has blocked 17 shots in just five games, including an eight-block performance against Oral Roberts. SU can’t afford to let Anei take away the inside. Comments Published on November 26, 2019 at 6:09 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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