On the heels of a disappointing 86-82 loss to Kansas State on Wednesday, the Cowboys are back in action on against the Texas Longhorns on Saturday. Despite a career-high 22 points from Brandon Averette, the Cowboys had no answer for Kansas State’s Barry Brown who put up 38 as well as a late second half push that extended the Wildcat lead to double digits. Texas on the other hand is coming off a 2OT thriller win against No. 16 TCU following the tragic news that sophomore star Andrew Jones has been diagnosed with Leukemia. Jones will be in our thoughts and prayers as we wish him a speedy recovery in his fight against cancer.
Lets get to the preview.
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, OK
When: 4 p.m. CT
The Longhorns bring a very young, highly-recruited squad to Stillwater on Saturday. Texas sports an 11-5 overall record and 2-2 in conference. Its best wins came against Butler, VCU, Alabama and TCU with close losses to Kansas, Gonzaga and Duke.
These Longhorns don’t scare me offensively. Texas is shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from three. They don’t really have a go-to guy offensively that’s a consistent shooter. If there’s one, it might be Tulane transfer Dylan Osetkowski. Osetkowski leads the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game but is a notably streaky shooter that is capable of having big, 20 point games as well as disappearing acts such as his 3-for-12 performance against Baylor.
The key to defending Texas is you have to make them take outside shots. If they go inside, they are more than capable of getting going with Osetkowski or especially highly-touted freshman Mohamed Bamba. Bamba is currently averaging a double-double and is 14th in the NCAA in rebounding, snagging 10.5 a game.
Texas will be looking for different guys to step up offensively. With senior guard Kerwin Roach out with a fractured left hand and go-to offensive talent Andrew Jones battling leukemia, the Longhorns will looking for different players to make an impact. Against TCU, it was junior guard Eric Davis that stepped up off the bench with a 22 point performance.
Defensively, the Horns are much more passable. Bamba is an elite shot blocker and rebounder with a 7-foot-9 wingspan. Texas will also bring one of the best groups of defensive guards the Cowboys will face all season. Texas is fifth nationally in overall defensive rating at 88.5 and 13th in opponent field goal percentage at 44.2 percent. Coach Shaka Smart is known around college basketball for his full court, man-to-man press. While he used it more at VCU don’t be surprised if they bust it out in Stillwater.
Give me the Pokes in this one. At home with a crowd of students that just returned from break behind them, I expect the Cowboys to bounce back from Wednesday’s frustrating loss. Whether or not Tavarius Shine plays will be a huge factor for the Cowboys. Shine sat out against Kansas State with a wrist injury and his consistent scoring and defensive intensity was missed.