Brigham Young Cougars vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Pick & Prediction MARCH 9th 2024

BYU can clinch a winning record in its first Big 12 Conference season when the No. 20 Cougars host Oklahoma State in the regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday night in Provo, Utah.

Picked to finish 13th in the league’s preseason media poll, BYU (21-9, 9-8 Big 12) has been one of the conference’s biggest surprises thanks to its perimeter shooting and explosive offense. Another win Saturday could help the Cougars secure the fifth seed in the upcoming Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.

BYU narrowly missed out on a shot at a top-four seed after falling 68-63 to No. 6 Iowa State on Wednesday night. The Cougars led by 14 early in the second half before the Cyclones seized a 58-56 lead with 7:24 left to cap an 11-0 run. BYU did not score over the final 4:23 after Richie Saunders hit a pair of go-ahead free throws.

“We were full of fight and full of competitiveness and on our toes, it just turned out that our decision-making down the stretch was left a little bit wanting,” BYU coach Mark Pope said.

Saunders finished with 20 points off the bench for the Cougars, but only one other player scored in double figures. BYU only went 2 of 15 from the perimeter after halftime, dooming its chances of holding onto the lead.

BYU also struggled with taking care of the ball, committing 17 turnovers. Three consecutive turnovers in the final two minutes cost the Cougars a chance at retaking the lead when they still only trailed by a point.

“It’s not the makes and misses,” Pope said. “It’s the 17 turnovers that got us. That’s not characteristic of us.”

Oklahoma State faces the tough task of trying to earn its second true road win of the season. Not much has gone right for the Cowboys (12-18, 4-13) since they defeated BYU 93-83 on Feb. 17 and Cincinnati four days later.

Texas Tech beat Oklahoma State 75-58 on Tuesday to hand the Cowboys their fourth straight loss. Oklahoma State never got going on the perimeter, missing 13 of its first 14 outside shots and finishing just 6 of 28 from beyond the arc.

Eric Dailey Jr. scored 12 points to lead a Cowboys’ offense that managed just 17 first-half points.

“The combination of us not making 3s, and then having to try to drive it against a team that collapses very aggressively was a bad recipe,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said.

Turnovers were another problem area for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State gave up 10 first-half turnovers after entering the game averaging 12.8 turnovers per contest.

A win on Saturday could help Oklahoma State secure the 13th seed in the Big 12 tournament and an opening round game on Tuesday against the 12th seed. It won’t be an easy task. BYU has won five straight home games against Big 12 opponents.

–Field Level Media

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