Preview: BYU takes on Oklahoma State on the road

BYU is heading to Stillwater to take on the struggling Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Aly Khalifa and Noah Waterman
Aly Khalifa and Noah Waterman / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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This Saturday, February 16th, 19th-ranked BYU will head to Gallagher-Iba Arena to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This will be the first meeting between these teams since 2003 when the Cougars topped the Cowboys 76-71 in Provo.

BYU (18-6, 6-5 Big XII) is currently 6th in the Big XII standings. Oklahoma State (10-14, 2-9 Big XII) is currently in last place in league play. BYU should be heavily favored to leave Stillwater with a win but will need to play at the top of their game, as they have struggled on the road this season.

Oklahoma State's season up to this point has been mostly down. After an unfortunate (and frankly unfair) postseason ban given to last season's team, their trajectory has been going the wrong way. Oklahoma State was a scapegoat for the 2017 investigation into corruption in NCAA basketball. For reasons I won't go into now, Oklahoma State was severely punished, while other teams implicated in the FBI investigation like Kansas, Arizona, and NC State received no significant punishment or postseason ban. This unfortunate situation has led to the Cowboys' down year and would be difficult for any basketball program to recover from.

Javon Small, Dai Dai Ames
Javon Small leads a fast break in a game against Kansas State / Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages

For this game, though, Cougar fans should keep an eye on OK State's Junior guard, Javon Small. He leads the Cowboys in scoring and assists, and can fill it up from 3, as he's shooting almost 40% from long range this season. Small was a 4-star transfer target from ECU this past offseason and has been an immediate impact player for the Cowboys. Keeping him contained will be key for the Cougars in this game.

I can't help but compare the basketball team's tendency to blow big leads to the football game against Oklahoma State, where BYU collapsed after taking a 24-6 lead to lose 34-40 in 2OT. The Cougars' basketball team has earned a reputation among the Big XII that they will let teams get back into games. After blowing double-digit leads in losses against Cincinnati, Baylor, Texas Teach, and nearly losing significant leads in recent games against Kansas State and UCF. If BYU takes a huge lead early into the game, they'll need to show more mental toughness and resolve to crush any comeback efforts Oklahoma State may make.

You can watch the game on ESPN+, or listen on KSL NewsRadio at 12:00 MST.

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