Texas basketball vs. Oklahoma preview

Texas basketball is looking to tie up the season series against its biggest rivals in Oklahoma on Thursday night. The Sooners snuck by with a close 80-79 win back in January. The Longhorns must win if they don’t want to give Oklahoma full bragging rights for the season. Let’s break down both squads.

Texas Offense

This offense did really well the last time it played against the Sooners. The Longhorns had five players score in double figures in the last matchup. They should focus on doing that again, as it will force Oklahoma’s defense to spread out because it can’t focus on just one or two players. Just keep moving the ball around and trust that your teammates will get the job done. Finally, Texas must take care of the basketball. Oklahoma had eight steals in the first matchup, and that just leads to more offensive possessions for the Sooners.

Texas defense

One area where Texas must improve on is cutting down on its fouling. The Longhorns had three players foul out over the course of the game against the Sooners. On top of that, multiple players had three or more fouls. As a result, that just gave Oklahoma more free throws and messed up Texas’ rotation for the rest of the game. Texas outplayed Oklahoma in the first matchup, but the Longhorns must focus on giving them less free throws and making those crucial stops needed to win this second matchup in what should be a close one.

Oklahoma offense

The Sooners offense had four players score in double figures in the first matchup, but the Longhorns need to be worried about Austin Reaves and focus on him for this second matchup. Reaves scored 23 points last time he faced the Longhorns and was a key reason the Sooners were able to get the win. The Longhorns defense actually covered the Sooners well. They just gave up too many free throws that ultimately ended up being their downfall. Reaves leads the Sooners in points, rebounds and assists. So, he’s a huge part in what they do every game. Slowing him down is the key to victory for Texas.

Oklahoma defense

Steals were a key reason Oklahoma was able to go out there and get the win. Outside of the amount of free throws the Sooners shot, getting those eight steals were crucial to their victory. Had it not been for the free throws, Texas would’ve won the first matchup. The Sooners had a tough time containing the Longhorns. Texas needs to take advantage of that and try to use that to outscore this Sooners offense.

Looking forward

Both teams desperately want to win this matchup. Not only is it a big matchup for conference standings, but you get to beat your biggest rivals and essentially get the last laugh before the end of the regular season. Well, unless they somehow matchup again during the Big 12 Tournament. At that point the stakes will be even higher. Texas will get its revenge. Oklahoma was extremely fortunate to leave with a win in the first matchup but it won’t happen again. The Longhorns will win this one with a final score of 77-73.

Photo courtesy of KStateSports.com