The Pack’s probably gonna need to play better tonight.
NC State did not have itself an inspiring performance last night, but teams that play below their baseline tend to bounce back the next time out. Which is not to say that NC State will beat Oklahoma State, just that it wouldn’t be a shocking development if that did happen.
Besides, what’s Oklahoma State got to play for? The Cowboys have been banned from the 2022 NCAA tournament, and if I were them, I would let this devastate me emotionally to the point where I played real bad tonight. Just really let it sink in there that I’m not going to play in the NCAAs.
No need to worry about Cade Cunningham, who is now in a purgatory otherwise known as playing for the Detroit Pistons. The Cowboys are practically a remade team with transfers, but they nonetheless look a lot like they did last year on paper.
Their games have featured a lot of turnovers so far—their offense is turnover-prone, and their defense has been among the best in the country at forcing them. Oklahoma State’s defense is highly disruptive: No. 4 in steal rate, No. 67 in block rate. NC State has done a good job taking care of the ball so far and that will need to continue.
The Cowboys have played at least 10 guys in all four of their games this season and in Cunningham’s absence they haven’t had another dominant scorer emerge. Guard Bryce Thompson (6’5, 195) and forward Moussa Cisse (6’10, 225) are leading the Cowboys at a little over 10 PPG. Thompson was at Kansas last year, while Cisse played for Memphis.
Cisse has been a monster on the boards and ranks 44th in block rate. Thompson didn’t show much of a shooting touch in limited action with Kansas, and that has continued in Stillwater: he’s 3-11 from beyond the arc after going 7-32 last season. He wasn’t much good inside the arc either at Kansas but so far this season he’s shooting 56 percent on twos.
Perimeter offense has not been OSU’s strength: they are just 311th in three-point attempt rate and are shooting a meager 30.3 percent on those attempts. This makes it less likely that the Cowboys will run away with the proceedings, and I won’t be shocked if the game is a little ugly.
KenPom likes OSU by two.