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Texas to host Colorado in NIT quarterfinals

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The Longhorns will battle a former Big 12 foe with a trip to Madison Square Garden at stake.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Colorado vs Oregon State Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Texas Longhorns will host a former Big 12 foe for the final home stand of the season, as Shaka Smart’s squad is set to square off with the Colorado Buffaloes in the NIT quarterfinals.

The matchup was set on Monday night after Colorado cruised past Norfolk State, 76-60, which marked the Buffaloes 12th win in their past 15 games.

Now a 23-win team, Colorado employs an eight-man rotation spearheaded by 6’7 sophomore forward Tyler Bey, who leads the squad with 13.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He’s one of several wings and forwards in the rotation that will present notable length for the Longhorns to overcome on the perimeter, alongside sophomore forward D’Shawn Schwartz, junior guard Deleon Brown, and freshman guard Daylen Kountz.

A perimeter-oriented offense, Colorado doesn’t boast too much size, but Evan Battey is a stocky 6’8 and should match up well with Dylan Osetkowski. The 6’10 Lucas Siewert adds an interesting wrinkle off the bench, as he’s more of your modern stretch big with a 35.5 percent three-point success rate this season.

Orchestrating the entire operation is sophomore floor general McKinley Wright IV, a smooth, stat-stuffer currently averaging 13.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists each time out.

Collectively, Colorado features four players shooting at least 32 percent from the perimeter, so the Longhorns will need to minimize the open opportunities on that end. This isn’t to suggest that Colorado is a sharpshooting squad as a whole, ranking 259th nationally in three-point percentage, but the Buffs do present numerous capable options.

Defensively, Colorado ranks 40th in efficiency, per KenPom, which is largely due to the versatility that the Buffaloes’ lengthy lineup presents.

A full game preview will follow prior to Texas’ matchup with Colorado.

Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Central on ESPN2. Tickets are available from $12-14.