Feast Week Mission Briefing: Oklahoma State in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 21st, 2016

Feast Week is here. To get you ready for the Big 12’s representation in the various holiday tournaments, our Feast Week Mission Briefings continue with Oklahoma State in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

Catching Up: Despite Big 12 coaches picking the Cowboys to finish seventh in the conference standings, it was hardly a surprise that Oklahoma State hammered Campbell, Central Arkansas and New Orleans thoroughly in Brad Underwood‘s first three outings. In doing so, the Cowboys put together three 100-point efforts in a season for the first time since Marcus Smart was on campus in Stillwater. Underwood’s projected backcourt duo of Jawun Evans and Phil Forte has so far lived up to its lofty expectations. Evans and Forte have combined to average 45.3 points per game, a figure inflated by a low level of competition but still nice to look at it a week and a half into the season.

Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Jawun Evans has put up video game numbers so far this season: 23.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.3 apg and 3.0 spg. (Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports)

Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Jawun Evans has put up video game numbers so far this season: 23.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.3 apg and 3.0 spg. (Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports)

Opening Round Preview: Connecticut came into this opening round game looking nothing like its usual self. Picked in the preseason to finish second in the American, UConn has stumbled out of the gate in losing back-to-back home games to Wagner and Northeastern, followed by a comeback road victory at Loyola Marymount. Despite being plagued by poor three-point shooting (27%), the Huskies still have athletic bodies like Amida Brimah and Rodney Purvis, both of whom can guard multiple positions. Monday night’s game will be a meeting of one team that wants to run (Oklahoma State) and another that would much prefer a tight, defensive affair (UConn).

Potential Later Round Match-ups: Because of how the tournament bracket is structured, it appears that either Oklahoma State or Connecticut would be glad to win tonight’s game and not expect a whole lot after that. The winner is likely to face 2016 National Runner-Up North Carolina — a “likely” scenario because the Tar Heels are facing host Chaminade and it would be foolish to think any game involving the Silverswords is decided before the players take the floor.

Outlook: Oklahoma State is one of only two Maui Invitational teams that will take the floor later today as an undefeated ball club. This year’s field is compiled of teams pundits figured to be really good (Oregon, UNC, Wisconsin), basketball powers with some work to do (UConn, Georgetown) and programs going through transitional periods (Tennessee, Oklahoma State). The Cowboys would be pleased to head back to the Mainland with two wins in Maui, but the most probable scenario is likely to result in only a single victory. Perhaps it comes against UConn or Chaminade in a loser’s bracket game, but anything beyond that would be a bonus.

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