The #6 Longhorns (22-3, 10-1) play in another nationally televised game on Sunday afternoon at Oklahoma State (13-12, 3-8). The game will be broadcast at 12:30 CST by ABC. Texas has won 14 of their last 15 games and has been cruising through the Big 12 schedule. They currently hold a one game lead over second place Kansas. The Cowboys, on the other hand, are reeling. OSU has lost seven of eight and currently stands 11th in the Big 12, ahead of only Baylor. And has been fully documented, they are now without their legendary coach, Eddie Sutton, for the rest of the season.
On paper, this one is a total mismatch. The Horns lead the nation in scoring margin and have a +20 point scoring margin in conference games. Texas is also second in the nation in rebounding margin (+11.3) and third in field goal percentage defense. When Texas holds opponents to under 40% shooting, they are a perfect 19-0. OSU shot just 34% earlier this year in Austin.
Texas has also excelled behind the three point arc on both ends. Texas leads the conference in three point field goal percentage and in three point field goal percentage defense. Texas is near the top of the league in virtually every statistical category, while OSU is average by almost all criteria.
Texas won the first meeting between these two, 80-46. The 34 point loss was a total drubbing. The Cowboys were outrebounded, outshot, outhustled, and totally outplayed. Daniel Gibson shot well. Lamarcus Aldridge and Brad Buckman controlled the paint, and our defense was spectacular. I expect the Horns to win this one too but it won't be as easy.
OSU does have two dangerous scorers in Mario Boggan (13 ppg, 5 rpg) and JamesOn Curry (13 ppg, 4 apg). The Cowboys have also been competitive in every Big 12 game since their visit to Austin. They have lost three games by two points each and another by just eight points. Even their fifteen point home loss to Kansas on Monday night was close until the last eight minutes. They also play much better at home. The Horns are a respectable 4-3 under Coach Barnes in Stillwater. Texas escaped last season with a 74-73 upset and NCAA bid clinching victory to end OSU's long home winning streak.
Texas has been rolling since our loss at Oklahoma three weeks ago. I expect more of the same from the Horns even on the road: solid post play, consistent team defense, and an overwhelming rebounding advantage. If Texas plays good defense and outrebounds their opponent, there are very few teams that can beat us, home or away. OSU will put up a good fight though. This will be the first home game since Eddie Sutton's mishaps. The fans will be going crazy and the players will want to win one for the old coach. Gallagher-Iba is usually a very tough place to play, but OSU is just 8-5 at home this season. If OSU gets up early, an upset becomes more likely.
This OSU team is simply not as talented as those of year's past and still hasn't gelled this season. To pull off a huge upset, OSU will need help from the fans and from the Horns. Texas is better at every position and is playing even better now than they were during the first meeting.
The Horns will get big games from Aldridge in the post and Gibson from the outside. PJ Tucker should be his usual outstanding self. The Horns win with defense and balanced scoring. The fans are out of the game early. Texas wins, 71-58.