CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 21: Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots the ball over teammates Clint Chapman #53 and Alexis Wangmene #20 of the Texas Longhorns during their game at the Dean Smith Center on December 21, 2011 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
On Senior Night in Austin, the Longhorns NCAA Tournament chances are on the line in a nationally televised game against the Sooners Wednesday night.
After escaping Lubbock with a 71-67 overtime victory on Saturday, the Texas Longhorns, sitting firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble, have no margin for error when they face the Oklahoma Sooners Wednesday night.
It's Senior Night in Austin, with the Longhorns honoring senior big men Clint Chapman and Alexis Wangmene, who have stepped up considerably this season after spending most of their college careers as little used reserves.
Neither player is considered an NBA prospect, but Chapman, at 6'10 230, has shown enough skill and athleticism to carve out a professional career overseas while Wangmene, at 6'7 240, is one of the most athletic big men in the country.
But while the Longhorns will be honoring their past as the game begins, the focus will soon shift to their future, as five freshmen who have grown a lot in their first season in Austin will need to be at their best to overcome a dangerous Oklahoma squad.
In the first game between the two teams this season, a 69-58 Texas victory, the Longhorns needed a magnificent second half from junior G J'Covan Brown to overcome a lackluster first half.
The Sooners, in their first year under coach Lon Kruger, are only 14-14 and have a 4-12 mark in conference play, but they've been competitive in most of their games, including two stunning wins over NCAA Tournament bound Kansas State.
They're led in scoring by 6'4 junior sharpshooter Steven Pledger, who is averaging 17.0 points on 47% shooting from the field and 41% from beyond the arc this season. His high release point will be an issue defensively for Texas' undersized back-court of Brown and Myck Kabongo.
But if the Longhorns can get consistent offensive production from Kabongo and his fellow freshmen Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis, the Sooners probably don't have enough firepower to stick with Texas at the Frank Erwin Center.
The 8:00 PM game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.