Thoughts before tipoff: Cowboys vs. Bears

Men's Basketball OSU vs. Baylor

Isaac Likekele takes the ball down the court during the Oklahoma State vs. No. 2 Baylor men's basketball game on January 18, 2020 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. 

The Oklahoma State men's basketball team is down in Waco for a rematch against the No. 1 team in the nation. 

In last month's loss to Baylor, the Cowboys played arguably their best basketball and were on the cusp victory.

Here are a few of my thoughts before the Cowboys and Bears tip off at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

Flow through Ice

Isaac Likekele is the face of OSU basketball. He is their best scorer and defender. He does everything coach Mike Boynton wants all of his players to do. Likekele is an all-round player. 

In OSU's victory against TCU on Wednesday, Likekele locked down the Horned Frogs' best player. He face guarded him for 95 percent of the game. The same exact thing needs to happen against BU. It would likely be either Jared Butler or MaCio Teague. If Likekele can lock down either of those players, it'll greatly help OSU's chances.

Discipline defense

The Cowboys had three players with four fouls midway through the second half on Wednesday. It really seemed like OSU was getting called for fouls every possession. Granted some of those calls were blatantly wrong after the replay was shown. However, the Cowboys need to stay disciplined on defense and keep the Bears away from the foul line. BU went 12-for-15 from the line in its first game against OSU with 14 of those shots coming in the second half. Cut the total in half and maybe it would've been a different outcome. The bottom line is be disciplined.

Pace yourself

Guards Lindy Waters III and Avery Anderson III were absent from OSU's lineup against TCU due to injury. Chris Harris Jr. also injured himself just minutes into the game. That left the Cowboys with two guards left in its regular rotation. Dee Mitchell, a walk on, saw significant minutes because of the injuries as well.

It is still unknown if any of the three will play against the Bears. If they aren't, the Cowboys need to pace themselves. It's going to be a long game with just three guards in the rotation. Hopefully for the Cowboys, Waters, Anderson or Harris will be healthy for the game. 

sports.ed@ocolly.com