Oklahoma State faces off against Oklahoma on Thursday night in the Big 12 Tournament. OSU is 0-2 against the Sooners this season, and if it wants to avoid going 0-3, these three things must happen:
Shoot well from deep
Oklahoma State's shooting has been night-and-day all season long. Phil Forte has been excellent, but guys like Tavarius Shine, Jeff Carroll, Layton Hammonds and Jeff Newberry haven't shown a lick of consistency. The Cowboys shot just 7-of-26 from deep in their 82-65 loss in Norman and an equally-pitiful 4-of-19 in their 64-56 loss in Stillwater.
We know that the Pokes play hard and are defensively capable, but unless they can shoot a better percentage from downtown, OU will just have too much firepower.
Make Oklahoma defend
The best way to get open 3-pointers is to move the ball. This is a department in which OSU has severely struggled all season long. The Cowboys fall in love with the dribble as much as anyone, and that's no way to beat the Sooners. In their two Bedlam losses this season, the Pokes dished out just 16 assists on 44 made baskets.
OSU's offense is far too often isolation dribbling followed by a difficult and contested jumper. The Cowboys can't win this unless they spread the wealth and make OU work.
Hickey must contribute
The Cowboys' point guard, like so many of his teammates, has been hit-or-miss offensively. Hickey is just as likely to finish with five points as he is 18, but if the Cowboys want to get past their arch-rival, he'll need closer to the latter. However there is reason for optimism.
After scoring in double figures in just nine of his first 20 games, Hickey has found his touch as of late. The former LSU Tiger has reached double digits in eight of the Cowboys' past 10 outings.
Oklahoma State is 3-0 all-time against the Sooners in the Big 12 Tournament. If these three things go well, they'll probably be 4-0.