Oklahoma St.-Kansas St. Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 15, 2013
Kansas State came up short last weekend in Stillwater, but it all worked out as a loss by a conference rival gave it a share of the Big 12 title. The 11th-ranked Wildcats will have nowhere to look for help on Friday night when they meet No. 14 Oklahoma State for the second time in seven days - this time with a berth in the conference tournament championship at stake. Tied with Kansas atop the Big 12 heading into last Saturday's game against the Cowboys (24-7), Kansas State (26-6) had its six-game winning streak - and 3-0 run in this series - snapped with a 76-70 loss. The Wildcats, though, ended up sharing the regular-season title - their first since winning the Big Eight in 1976-77 - with the Jayhawks, who lost later Saturday at Baylor. Kansas State got off to a nice start in the quarterfinals, defeating Texas 66-49 on Thursday. First-team All-Big 12 pick Rodney McGruder scored 12 points in each half and matched a program record for field goals (10) in a conference tournament game to help Kansas State end a three-game skid in this event. "We're living into the second day,'' said Bruce Weber, the Big 12 coach of the year. "Now let's see if we can get to the championship (on Saturday against No. 1 seed Kansas or Iowa State).'' The Wildcats have been there only once before, a 2010 loss to the Jayhawks. The third-seeded Cowboys are on the verge of their first championship game appearance since winning their second consecutive title in 2005. Oklahoma State, though, knows it will have to play a full 40 minutes against the Wildcats after nearly blowing a 20-point lead in Thursday's 74-72 victory over sixth-seeded Baylor. Freshman Phil Forte's two free throws with 2.9 seconds were the difference, as Oklahoma State survived a 24-point second-half explosion by Big 12 scoring leader Pierre Jackson. "We know (Kansas State is) a good team, and it'll be a good battle," said sophomore Le'Bryan Nash, who led all scorers last Saturday with 24 points. "We have to come out stronger than we did tonight.'' While it wasn't an ideal way to start the tournament, the Cowboys have to feel good about the play of Marcus Smart, the third Big 12 player - Texas' Kevin Durant and Kansas State's Michael Beasley were the others - to win conference player of the year and rookie of the year in the same season. With 21 points in the quarterfinals, Smart has reached 20 in a season-best three consecutive games. If Smart declares for the NBA draft like many expect, and this ends up being his final game against Kansas State, the Wildcats would probably support that decision. Smart hit 7 of 11 field-goal attempts in both matchups, finishing with 21 points, six assists and six rebounds last Saturday and 25 points and five boards in a 73-67 loss in Manhattan on Jan. 5. McGruder has been a matchup nightmare for the Cowboys, hitting half of his 34 shots and totaling 50 points with nine rebounds. McGruder is 26 points shy of tying Cartier Martin for seventh all-time at Kansas State with 1,546. He also needs 16 boards to move into seventh place with 650. These teams have met once in the Big 12 tournament, an 83-64 Wildcats quarterfinal victory in 2010.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jim Ross’ wife Jan dies from injuries due to Vespa crash

Report: Larry Brown to meet with LIU Brooklyn about coaching job

Report: Jay Cutler garnering 'zero' interest around NFL

Paul Millsap to opt out of contract, become free agent

Martellus Bennett calls out NFL to do more to build up communities

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NBA disciplines Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez for fighting

Jason Day tearfully withdraws from PGA event to be with ailing mother

Matt Barnes on Derek Fisher chants: ‘I’m sick of that s—’

Brent Musburger admits he once bet on a game he broadcasted

Jeff Hornacek: Knicks will run triangle ‘exclusively’ next season

Reese Witherspoon to speak to women’s gathering at NFL owners meetings

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Box Score 3/21: WBC semis are bat-flipping fun

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

NBA Western Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

MLB players most likely to break out in 2017

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Eat, Drink, Watch: A weekend of March Madness and more

The 'Who will ruin your glorious bracket this year?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker