The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sprint Center (18,555) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: Big 12 Network. Home Record: Oklahoma 12-4, Texas 16-2. Away Record: Oklahoma 1-9, Texas 7-3. Neutral Record: Oklahoma 1-4, Texas 2-1. Conference Record: Oklahoma 5-11, Texas 13-3. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 47-31.
GAME NOTES: The 10th-ranked Texas Longhorns seek redemption in the Big 12 Tournament, as they take on thee Oklahoma Sooners in quarterfinal action from the Sprint Center this evening. The winner of this game moves into the semifinals to take on either Missouri or Texas A&M.
Rick Barnes' Longhorns let the regular-season conference crown slip away with three losses in their last five regular-season games. However, the team still finished a strong 25-6 overall and 13-3 in Big 12 play to secure the tournament's second seed. Texas is 18-14 all-time in this event, but has never hoisted the tournament trophy.
Jeff Capel's Sooners on the other hand, struggled this year both in and out of league play and currently sport a 14-17 overall mark, finishing their Big 12 ledger at a mere 5-11. However, that didn't stop the team from completely dominating Baylor in first-round action on Wednesday, advancing with an 84-67 rout of the Bears. Oklahoma is now 20-11 in Big 12 Tournament play, with three titles, the last of which came in 2003.
Oklahoma holds a 47-31 edge in the all-time series with Texas, but the Longhorns have won 10 of the last 12 meetings, including a regular-season sweep this season.
The Sooners have not been a strong offensive team this season, averaging a modest 66.4 ppg. However, the 84-point eruption against Baylor yesterday has to give this team some confidence. Cade Davis led the offensive charge in the win, netting 24 points, thanks to a 4-of-8 showing from behind the arc. Carl Blair added 14 points to the cause, while Steven Pledger and Cameron Clark chipped in with 10 points apiece. OU shot a sterling 57.5 percent from the floor in the game, a number bolstered by a 9-of-18 performance from three- point range. On the year, Davis has been the catalyst, averaging 14.1 ppg. Andrew Fitzgerald and Pledger provide some scoring support at 12.6 and 11.0 ppg, respectively.
Texas has thrived at both ends of the floor, sporting a +14.2 scoring margin, averaging 75.2 ppg, while allowing just 61.0. It certainly hasn't hurt to have one of the nation's top frontcourt trios in forwards Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson and Gary Johnson. A sophomore, Hamilton was an All-Big 12 First-Team selection, averaging 18.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Thompson was tabbed the Big 12 Freshman of the Year after posting 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, while the senior Johnson came in at 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per outing. Further depth on the roster comes in the form of freshman point guard Cory Joseph (10.5 ppg) and sophomore J'Covan Brown (9.3 ppg).
The Sooners really turned things up a notch on Wednesday, but to get over the next hurdle would really be a feat. Expect Texas' frontcourt to dominate this contest, pushing the Longhorns into the semifinal round.