The college basketball season gets underway Tuesday across the country, and Oklahoma State will be among the many kicking off the 2021-22 campaign on the first day of action. The Cowboys open their season at home against UT-Arlington with a 7 p.m. tip as part of a three-game home stand before really diving into the nonconference schedule.
OSU will be unable to participate in the postseason after a recent NCAA ruling so the anticipation and excitement of the season has in part lost its luster. But who are we kidding? Avery Anderson, Bryce Thompson, Moussa Cisse and the cast of characters this season have us plenty pumped. After adding two former five-stars to the mix this offseason, a formidable roster is in place to be a real factor in the regular season.
So, before things kick off, our staff has predictions — breakout stars, win totals, potential conference finish — on the season ahead.
Predicted final regular season record: 23-8
Conference record/finish: 12-6/Third Place
Breakout star: You could argue Avery Anderson broke out in Morgantown last season, but I think he breaks out more nationally in 2021-22. A lot of national spectators saw this team as Cade Cunningham and the Cowboys last season, not being able to name anyone else on the roster. Anderson could compete for a Big 12 scoring title in his junior season, making his impact known more to the average college basketball fans. I’d like to also submit an honorable mention for Rondel Walker. I expect a big jump between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Predicted final regular season record: 20-11
Conference record/finish: 10-8/Fifth Place
Breakout star: Avery Anderson is the easy pick here, but I’d argue he was a breakout star last season if you were paying attention. So I’ll take one of the new additions and tab Moussa Cisse as the breakout star. The 7-footer as a freshman at Memphis last season had a block rate that ranked top-25 nationally, and he’s an absolute force in the paint, as evidenced by his 14 points and five blocks in an exhibition win last week over UCO. He’s going to be the key to OSU’s defense that folks in Stillwater seem very excited about. A missing piece that can legitimately serve as the anchor to a defense. Think he has a chance to lead the Big 12 in blocked shots and should be primed to live up to his five-star pedigree.
Predicted final regular season record: 22-9
Conference record/finish: 12-6/Fourth Place
Breakout star: Bryce Thompson. Things didn’t work out for Thompson as planned in Lawrence, with injuries hampering his normal development as a freshman, but he’s got legit five-star talent. As Mike Boytnon stated recently, we shouldn’t expect Cade numbers out of the gate — not all five-stars are created equal. No. 1 has the goods to be this team’s leading scorer, though he’ll have some competition.
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