Big 12 Team Previews: Oklahoma State

Over the next few weeks, I'll be taking an in-depth look at every school in the Big 12.  I'll focus on the past (i.e. last season's strengths and weaknesses), the changes (i.e. incoming freshmen, departing seniors, new coaches), and the future.

See past previews: Iowa StateNebraskaOklahomaTexas TechTexas A&M

Like Texas A&M, Oklahoma State lost a lot; specifically they lost Big 12 Player of the Year, James Anderson, and second-leading-scorer (Anderson's backcourt mate) Obi Muonelo.  Anderson had a fantastic season, averaging nearly 23 points a game.  Take a look at Oklahoma State's three best wins from last season: Baylor (ranked 22nd at the time), Kansas (ranked first at the time), and at Kansas State (ranked 9th at the time).  In those games, Anderson had 31 points (12 rebounds), 27 points (8 rebounds), and 30 points, respectively.  He was the dagger.  The top three teams in the Big 12 had no answer him.  In a nutshell, that's why he won conference POY last season; it's also why Oklahoma State has a lot of work ahead of them.

Sharpshooter Keiton Page and Ray Penn will have to try and pick up where Anderson and Muonelo left off.  In the frontcourt, Marshall Moses (who averaged a very respectable 8 and 8 last season) and Kentucky transfer Matt Pilgrim will also be called on to carry a larger load.

Unfortunately, increased responsibility isn't the only baggage Matt Pilgrim will be dealing with this season.  Over the summer, a protective order was filed against Pilgrim by another student, who claimed Pilgrim raped her.  Fortunately, for Pilgrim, the case was dismissed early this month on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence.  Even though legally this case is closed, it can't help prepare for the coming season, and .

As for fresh blood, the Cowboys add five new players, including four-star recruit Michael Cobbins and three-star recruit Brian Williams.  While neither will be an instant impact player, Cobbins especially has shown a lot of offensive promise (assuming he bulks up in college).  The Cowboys also bring in Markel Brown, Darrell Williams (JuCo), and JP Olukemi (JuCo) to help out this season.

Looking at Oklahoma State's schedule, they have a couple of nonconference challenges.  In the 76 Classic, they'll probably play Virginia Tech (a very good, experienced team that could be the second best in the ACC behind Malcolm Delaney) and Murray State, Stanford, Tulsa, or UNLV.  In December, the Cowboys travel out west to play Gonzaga (who some, myself not included, consider to be a top 10 team).  Overall, the conference schedule will be pretty challenging, and the Cowboys are scheduled to play Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Baylor twice during conference play.  My guess is the Cowboys split with Texas; I predict they'll sweep A&M, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.  Leaving them with a predicted conference record of 9-7 (which could easily be 10-6 with a good game against Colorado or Baylor).  But in the end, they should be dancing.

Predicted Conference Record: 9-7

Follow me on Twitter: @rise_and_fire

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