The Oklahoma State Cowboys come off an emotional overtime win on Saturday to a matchup on the road against the Kansas State Wildcats. Here are your keys to the Pokes’ upcoming game:

Key Player, Oklahoma State: Yankuba Sima (F)

Yankuba Sima made his first start for Oklahoma State last Saturday in the Pokes’ thrilling overtime victory. Moving forward he will be important to the Cowboys’ success.

Sima put up a subpar three points on Saturday, but more will be expected against Kansas State. He is a 6-11 junior with the size and strength to make the Wildcats pay inside.

If Sima can battle down low and create shots for the “small guys” outside, fellow forward Mitchell Solomon and guard Lindy Waters, who played his first game back from a concussion on Saturday, will benefit.

Key Player, Kansas State: Cartier Diarra (G)

Kansas State starting guard Kamau Stokes went out with a foot injury against Texas Tech and is now questionable to start. This leaves backup guard Diarra in an important spot.

On Saturday Diarra played a grand 30 minutes because of Stokes’ injury. He only shot three out of five from the field, but, depending on Stokes’ status for the Wednesday night matchup, he could be playing a lot of minutes again.

Kansas State also struggled early against Tech on the road. With a 40-22 deficit and their starter out for the second half, it was too much to overcome. An fast start and solid gameplan for the OSU matchup will serve the Wildcats well.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma State- 60, Kansas State- 56

Both the Cowboys and the Wildcats have struggled to score to win recently, but the Pokes are predicted to pull this one out.

It will be important for both teams to start off strong, especially the Wildcats. Between injury issues for Kansas State and internal motivation, the Pokes should simply be more driven to get new coach Mike Boynton another Big 12 win.

The Pokes should have the desired quick start, but the second half will be about the defenses — and Boynton’s squad should emerge the most resilient.

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