Wow, talk about whiplash. In the span of just one game the Gophers went from getting spanked on the road by the Iowa Hawkeyes to dominating the presumptive (at the time) #1 team in the nation at home in the Ohio State Buckeyes. I mean, that was the Gophers. At home. Beating down one of the best teams in the nation. Sometimes you just gotta laugh and accept, right?
With the win the Gophers jumped an impressive 11 spots in KenPom, from 74 to 63, and notched a win that makes you wonder just who this team is. On one hand they’ve shown that they can actually beat a top team in the nation and have hung with others in tough games. On the other, they’ve had some head-scratchers that still leaves some doubt.
It’s still early-ish in the season, so it’s certainly possible, even likely, that the team is coming together and finding an identity. To be sure, Marcus Carr now has two monster games in his last three. Is that a sign of things to come?
Things stay real on Saturday as the Gophers continue their gauntlet of a non-conference schedule when they head to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys as part of the BOK Center Basketball Showdown. Tulsa and Colorado State face each other in the early game, with the Gophers and Cowboys finishing up.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)
Date and Time:
Saturday, Dec. 21 @ 4:30 p.m. CT
BOK Center (Tulsa, OK)
Tell me more about the opponent.
I suppose after you beat the best team in the country anything is possible, right? Minnesota takes on Oklahoma State in a “neutral-court” game in OSU’s backyard in Tulsa. It’s the second of a two-game neutral-court series, as the Cowboys were up here last year in a game played in U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Cowboys have made a significant year-over-year improvement. They’re 8-2 on the year and have notched four top-100 KenPom wins already this season. However, their competition stiffened quite a bit in their last three games, facing three top-45 teams and losing two of those games, both of which were at home to Georgetown and Wichita State. So, this is far from an infallible team.
Four Cowboys average in double figures, and they’re led by Isaac Likelele, who has been sidelined for the past three games with mono. His status for Saturday’s game is still uncertain, which means OSU may lean even heavier on senior guard Lindy Waters III and forwards Yor Anei and Cameron McGriff.
Well, I guess anything is on the table now, right? Daniel Oturu is as steady as they come, but it certainly seems like this team goes as Marcus Carr goes. If he’s hot and feeling it from the floor this team gets into rhythm very easily. If he’s struggling it seems to be contagious, both on offense and defense.
The Gophers still haven’t won a game away from home, and they’ll be stretched once again in a neutral-matchup against a good team. If Likelele can’t go I like Minnesota’s chances, but I’d take the Cowboys by three if he’s back and they’re at full strength.