For the fifth time under Coach Rick Barnes, the Texas Longhorns will play for the Big XII tournament championship. Texas has never won the title but will get another shot on Sunday at 2 pm on ESPN against either Kansas or Texas A&M.
Texas easily dispatched of Oklahoma, 77-49, behind strong first half performances from DJ Augustin and Damion James, red hot shooting from AJ Abrams throughout, and dominating defense in the second half.
After a quick 7-0 run by OU tied the game at 36, Texas turned up the intensity on both ends. Back to back threes by Abrams put the Longhorns up six, Justin Mason added another three to give Texas a nine point advance, and the Longhorns never looked back.
The Longhorns also got strong performances from Alexis Wangmene and Dexter Pittman off the bench. Both were critical to today's success as Gary Johnson was forced to sit out with an ankle injury. It is unclear if Johnson will be able to play in the finals. With the Longhorns in great shape heading into next week's NCAA tournament, I will not be surprised if Gary sits again.
The best part of today's performance was watching Abrams find his stroke. AJ finished with a game high 24 points on 7-of-12 from behind the arc. When he gets hot, this team can really roll and that is exactly what happened in the second half.
This was a very strong performance by a dangerous, balanced, and well-coached team. None of the pundits think Texas can be a #1 seed and I can't seem to understand why. Texas has three of the best wins in the country, are currently #5 in the RPI, played an incredibly difficult non-conference schedule, went 13-3 in the second rated conference in the country, and just reached the tournament finals. If Texas wins tomorrow and is shipped to the West Regional as a #2 with UCLA as a #1 or to the Midwest Regional as a #2 with Tennesse as a #1, I'm going to be extrememly pissed. If the Longhorns win tomorrow, they will have the best overall resume in the country and deserve a #1 or at least to stay in the Houston Regional.