Oklahoma State has faced a series of difficult developments this week but will try to continue its impressive play when the sixth-ranked Cowboys travel to Kansas State to open Big 12 play Saturday. The Cowboys are in the midst of a five-game winning streak, but they've had a rough week nonetheless. Starting center Michael Cobbins (4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds) was lost for the season to a torn Achilles on Tuesday and backup point guard Stevie Clark (7 points, 3.7 assists) reportedly was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday morning and the freshman could be facing his second suspension of the season.
The Wildcats stumbled out of the gate but have won eight straight including a victory over then-No. 15 Gonzaga and a 72-55 rout of a solid George Washington team on Tuesday. "We had given the guys a goal when we left Puerto Rico to go unbeaten in December," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber told the school's website. "It was our opportunity to play ourselves back in the conversation for postseason play, so it was great to get it done." Kansas State could bolster its resume even more with a win over the Cowboys, who are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking in the top 10 in scoring (86.8 points) and field-goal percentage (50.3).
TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (12-1): The loss of Cobbins - and potentially Clark - certainly hurts the Cowboys' depth, but it doesn't change the fact that they boast one of the best lineups in the nation. Marcus Smart (17.2 points, 4.1 assists, 2.6 steals), Markel Brown (16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds) and Le'Bryan Nash (13.5 points, 6.1 rebounds) all three can take over a game, and Phil Forte (12.2 points) has been a spark off the bench who may have to take on a larger role. "Any time you lose any player, it puts a little bit of a dent in your team, but it also gives other players an opportunity," coach Travis Ford told reporters. "We're not going to change who we are offensively. All of our guys are going to have to step up."
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (10-3): Imposing forward Thomas Gipson (11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds) did not play in the Wildcats' season-opening loss to Northern Colorado and he played only eight minutes in a loss to Charlotte. Having Gipson healthy gives Kansas State a trio of scorers along with Marcus Foster (13.8 points) and Shane Southwell (11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds). Southwell scored a career-high 21 points against George Washington after matching his high with 19 in the previous game against Tulane.
1. Kansas State's eight-game winning streak is tied for the longest in Weber's tenure.
2. The Wildcats have held 11 of 13 opponents under 65 points while the Cowboys have scored 68 or more in every game.
3. Forte leads the Big 12 in free-throw percentage at 90.9 percent after shooting 91.3 percent as a freshman last season.
PREDICTION: Kansas State 68, Oklahoma State 67