UC Davis (0-0) at Oklahoma State (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, Nov. 9, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611) -- Stillwater, Oklahoma. Television: FSN-SW. Home Record: UC Davis 0-0, OSU 0-0. Away Record: UC Davis 0-0, OSU 0-0. Neutral Record: UC Davis 0-0, OSU 0-0. Conference Record: UC Davis 0-0, OSU 0-0. Series Record: OSU leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Oklahoma State Cowboys are set to open the 2012-13 campaign on their home floor at Gallagher-Iba Arena against the Aggies of UC Davis.
The Aggies' 2011-12 season was a disaster from start to finish, as they won only five games overall and finished just 1-15 in the Big West Conference. A season-ending injury to Ryan Sypkens, one of their key players, certainly aided in the team's struggles. With Sypkens now back to full health, UC Davis will look to improve upon its league-worst scoring margin of minus-12.4.
The Cowboys may have notched only 15 wins last season, but they were victorious in the recruiting ranks for a second straight year, and that young talent will eventually start paying dividends. Oklahoma State is coming off a 7-11 season in the Big 12, with all but four of those losses coming on the road. Following tonight's season opener, they'll pack their bags for Bayamon to take part in next week's Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The only previous meeting between these two schools came back in December of 1993, as Oklahoma State cruised to a lopsided 85-41 victory.
After performing well in his first two seasons, junior guard Ryan Sypkens averaged 14.5 ppg in four games last year before being lost for the remainder of the season with an injury. With presumably a full season of action ahead, UC Davis shapes up much better with him in the lineup. The team also welcomes Josh Ritchart back to the starting lineup, as he was the team's top performer in 2011-12 with 11.3 ppg and 5.1 rpg. Tyler Les (9.7 ppg) and Ryan Howley (6.7 ppg) also return to the rotation as both averaged more than 27 minutes per game. There's an influx of new players, including transfers Corey Hawkins (Arizona State), Avery Johnson (USF), and Iggu Nujic (Texas-San Antonio), all of whom should see immediate playing time.
Last year it was McDonald's All-American Le'Bryan Nash who came on board at Oklahoma State, and after a rocky start he finished second on the team in scoring with 13.3 ppg to go along with 5.0 rpg as a freshman. This year, coach Travis Ford will turn to another McDonald's All-American in Marcus Smart, who was tabbed as the preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Smart is a versatile backcourt player who excels at creating shots for himself. Also new to the fold is freshman guard Phil Forte, who played on the same 5-A Texas state championship team as Smart and was named MVP of the state tourney. Forte is known as a strong outside shooter, and his presence could certainly help a team that shot just 33 percent from the perimeter last season. For now, he may have to bide his time behind fellow guards Markel Brown (10.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and Brian Williams (9.6 ppg), both of whom played well in their first extensive action a year ago.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 74, UC Davis 64
11/09 10:36:06 ET