The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frank Erwin Center (16,734) -- Austin, Texas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Oklahoma State 11-1, Texas 14-1. Away Record: Oklahoma State 1-6, Texas 6-1. Neutral Record: Oklahoma State 4-1, Texas 2-1. Conference Record: Oklahoma State 4-6, Texas 10-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 43-35.
GAME NOTES: The third-ranked Texas Longhorns continue their quest for the Big 12 Conference regular season title as they entertain the Oklahoma State Cowboys tonight.
While Oklahoma State is a solid 16-8 overall, the team is just 4-6 versus Big 12 competition. The Cowboys carried a modest two-game win streak into Saturday's road clash with Nebraska, but that tilt resulted in a 65-54 defeat. The club is now just 1-6 in true road games and is facing a group of Longhorns that are 14-1 at home this season.
Speaking of Texas, it sits alone atop the conference standings with a 10-0 record, as Kansas dropped to 9-2 with a loss to Kansas State on Monday. The Longhorns are 22-3 overall and figure to be ranked no worse than number two nationally by weeks end if they can avoid a loss. Their current 10-game win streak began on January 11th, and 16 of the last 17 tilts have resulted in victory for coach Rick Barnes and company.
Texas owns a 43-35 series lead over Oklahoma State, which includes a 24-11 mark in Austin.
Oklahoma State struggled at the offensive end against Nebraska on Saturday, as the Cowboys connected on only 36 percent of their field goal attempts, including 30.8 percent in the decisive second half. They were also outrebounded by a 38-28 margin in that tilt and scored fewer points from the foul line than the Cornhuskers as well. Marshall Moses played well in defeat, as he paced Oklahoma State with 18 points. Keiton Page checked in with 14 points for the Cowboys, who are averaging 70.0 ppg this season while allowing 66.5 ppg to foes. In Big 12 games alone, however, the Cowboys are scoring a modest 67.9 ppg while surrendering 71.7 ppg. Moses is netting 14.9 ppg to go along with 7.8 rpg through 24 outings, and Page provides 14.1 ppg on the strength of his 90.4 percent accuracy from the foul line. The third and final double-digit scorer on the roster is Jean-Paul Olukemi with 12.0 ppg.
There is no question that Texas' standout Jordan Hamilton is worthy of consideration for Big 12 Player of the Year honors. Through 25 games, all of which he has started, Hamilton is averaging 18.9 ppg to go along with 7.6 rpg. Hamilton gets some help from Tristan Thompson, who provides 12.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg and a club-high 57 blocks. Add extra balance to the lineup are Gary Johnson (11.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Cory Joseph (11.0 ppg), and the foursome helps Texas rack up 75.8 ppg. It has been the team's play at the defensive end that has been its strength, however, as opponents are managing a mere 59.7 ppg on 36.4 percent field goal efficiency. The Longhorns are also outrebounding foes by 7.1 rpg, key to the 22-3 overall record. Thompson and Hamilton both scored 17 points in the team's victory 69-60 victory over Baylor on Saturday. That win featured a 22-5 advantage in points from the foul line for Texas, clearly the most impressive stat from the contest.
It can certainly be argued with validity that Texas is the best team in the nation right now. Don't expect an upset tonight, as the Longhorns will take care of business at home.