The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Texas 13-1, Oklahoma 11-1. Away Record: Texas 5-1, Oklahoma 1-5. Neutral Record: Texas 2-1, Oklahoma 0-4. Conference Record: Texas 8-0, Oklahoma 4-4. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 47-30.
GAME NOTES: The third-ranked Texas Longhorns are still unbeaten in Big 12 Conference play, and they will attempt to avoid an upset at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners this evening.
Texas has posted eight consecutive victories since the start of league action, and the fact that all eight wins have come by double digits speaks to the club's dominance. The Longhorns, who are 20-3 overall, are fresh off a 76-60 victory over Texas Tech. Of the three losses suffered by Rick Barnes' squad, two have come to Big East foes UConn and Pittsburgh by a combined total of three points.
Oklahoma managed to get on a bit of a roll, winning four consecutive games prior to last Saturday's road clash with rival Oklahoma State. Unfortunately, that tilt resulted in an 81-75 setback, knocking the Sooners down to 1-5 in true road games. They are 12-10 overall, including 4-4 in Big 12 action, and have reason for confidence tonight considering their 11-1 home record.
Texas crushed Oklahoma by a 66-46 final last month, overshadowing the fact that the Sooners hold a 47-30 advantage in the all-time series.
The reason that Texas has been so successful this season can be attributed to strong defense, as the team is limiting foes to 60.0 ppg on 36.4 percent shooting from the floor, including 27.7 percent from three-point range. The Longhorns, who are scoring 76.4 ppg, are also outrebounding the opposition by 7.1 rpg. Jordan Hamilton paces four double-digit scorers with 18.9 ppg on 42.4 percent shooting from three-point range, and he is also ripping down 7.6 rpg. Tristan Thompson provides 12.7 ppg and 7.4 rpg, while Gary Johnson (11.6 ppg) and Cory Joseph (11.0 ppg) provide balance to the lineup. Hamilton and Johnson both tallied 16 points, and Thompson added 11 points. Texas shot 50 percent from the field, including 8-of-16 from three-point range. Defensively, the Longhorns limited the Red Raiders to 38.2 percent field goal efficiency while forcing them into 17 turnovers.
Through 22 outings, Oklahoma is scoring 68.2 ppg, just marginally better than the 67.4 ppg that the team is allowing. Andrew Fitzgerald leads the Sooners with 13.7 ppg on 52.5 percent shooting from the floor, and Cade Davis checks in with 12.9 ppg. As for Steven Pledger, he rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 12.3 ppg. In the six-point setback to Oklahoma State last Saturday, the Sooners shot just 34.8 percent from the floor in the second half, including a 2-of-9 showing from three-point range. They made good on just 3-of-15 shots from behind the arc overall and were outrebounded by a 38-28 margin. A 36-24 deficit in points from the foul line clearly hurt the cause for Oklahoma, which received 18 points apiece from Fitzgerald and Davis.
Expect Texas to complete the season sweep of Oklahoma with a double-digit victory in this affair. The Longhorns probably won't go undefeated in Big 12 play, but the first loss isn't likely to occur this evening.