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Texas will play Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament Thursday

The Longhorns will battle Baylor for a third time in the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday at 11:30 CT

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After yet another rigorous season in the Big 12, the regular season has concluded and next comes the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. When the smoke finally cleared and the dust settled, Texas was slotted as the No. 4 seed, which will pit them against the Baylor Bears, the No. 5 seed, for a third matchup of the season.

It will be interesting to see how Texas responds in the third meeting of a season series that split, with Texas and Baylor winning on the road. But in the most recent meeting in Austin, Baylor punched Texas in the mouth from the beginning and ultimately cruised to a 78-64 victory. Can Texas bounce back and get some revenge against their rivals from about 100 miles north, or will there be a psychological hangover from a demoralizing loss February 20?

If Texas wins Thursday afternoon, the Longhorns will advance to face the winner of the Kansas game, in which the top-seeded Jayhawks will play the winner of the Kansas State-Oklahoma State matchup. Outside of a shocking upset, this would likely mean a win pits Texas against Kansas for a yet another redemption game, after the Jayhawks came into Austin on senior night and stomped Texas to the tune of a 85-56 blowout that was over from the tip.

But regardless, March Madness is upon us, and it will be interesting to see how Shaka Smart can lead his team to success during his first season, especially considering post-season shortcomings were essentially the reason Rick Barnes is coaching elsewhere now.

Worth noting: 247Sports reported Cameron Ridley is meeting with a doctor early next week to determine if he's cleared to run and jump yet. That would be his final obstacle, outside of getting back into basketball shape. In an optimistic world, we may see some Ridley down low for Thursday's meeting with Baylor, which would be critical for matching the Bears' interior depth and talent. But until there's any clarification for UT officials, it's likely that the NCAA Tournament is a more realistic time table for Ridley's return.