Hoping to remain as a projected No. 2 seed, the No. 7 Texas Longhorns can help secure that favorable NCAA Tournament positioning by winning at least one game in the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City at the T-Mobile Center, an effort that begins on Thursday against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The No. 2 seed for the Longhorns is their highest in the conference tournament since 2011.
Head coach Mike Boynton’s team advanced out of the first round with a 57-49 victory over Oklahoma on Wednesday, an ugly win buoyed by holding the Sooners to 25-percent shooting from the field and 26.1-percent shooting from three-point range. The offensive performance by the Cowboys wasn’t much better, featuring 35-percent shooting overall and a 25-percent effort from beyond the arc. At least both teams only turned the ball over nine times?
Guard Caleb Ashberry led the way with 15 points and eight rebounds, while guard Bryce Thompson added 12 points and five assists and guard John-Michael Wright scored 10 points.
Texas completed the regular-season sweep over Oklahoma State with a 56-46 win in Stillwater in early January that was perhaps more ugly than Wednesday’s affair in Kansas City given the turnover issues that plagued both teams. In that game, the Longhorns opened up a lead late in the first half and survived a second-half surge by the Cowboys as Oklahoma State only scored two points over the final 8:20.
In Austin, Texas once again closed the first half strong to create separation before a more comfortable second half in the 89-75 win. The Horns shot 50.9 percent from the field and 61.9 percent from three-point range in addition to making 23 free throws. Guard Marcus Carr was one of four Texas players to score in double digits with a game-high 21 points on 7-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 shooting from three, while adding five assists and three steals.
ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Longhorns a 72.7-percent win probability.
How to watch
Time: 6 p.m. Central