It appears that the Texas Longhorn basketball team is gaining steam. Coming off their best victory of the season, an impressive 86-76 win over No. 8 Iowa State on January 18th. The Longhorns now have two very impressive wins on their resume, Iowa State and North Carolina, and have now won three games in a row. The modest winning streak has been somewhat of a surprise, in a year when many thought that the Longhorns would be rebuilding; they have a very respectable record of 14-4. The Longhorns will next turn their attention to Kansas State on Tuesday, January 21st.
Kansas State appears to be hitting their stride as well. Recently voted into the top 25, Kansas State is rated as the 22nd best team in the country. After splitting their first four contests of the season they have won 12 of their last 13 ball games. During the hot stretch the Wildcats have recorded two big wins over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, with their only loss being at Allen Field house against their rival, the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Wildcats offer a very balanced attack, Marcus Foster, Thomas Gipson, and Shane Southwell are all averaging more than 11 points per game, and Foster is leading the attack averaging 14 points per game.
For the Longhorns it has been all about junior standout, Jonathan Holmes. Holmes is averaging 13.1 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game. His 23 points on 13 shots against Iowa State was key in the Longhorns ability to pull off the upset. Center sophomore, Cameron Ridley is Holmes is the other half of Texas’ big front court. Ridley, a huge presence at 6’9” 285 LBS is has also been impressive averaging 10.9 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. Javan Felix and Isaiah Taylor are also averaging in double figures scoring for the Longhorns at 11.9 and 11.2 per game respectively.
If Texas has one advantage it would be on the glass. The Longhorns come into the game leading the Big 12 in rebounding, pulling down nearly 42 rebounds per game. Kansas State is a bit undersized and is averaging 37.7 rebounds per game. While the Longhorns are second in the conference in offensive rebounds per game, the Wildcats are near the bottom of the conference in defensive rebounds per game. It will be a very interesting in game match up to watch if the Longhorns can use their size to create a distinct rebounding advantage and turn that into an advantage on the scoreboard.