The No. 3 seed Texas Longhorns open the Big 12 tournament Thursday versus No. 6 seed West Virginia.
Texas was the surprise of the conference this year. Following a disappointing 2012-13 season, the Longhorns rebounded to finish 22-9, and 11-7 in Big 12 play. Coach Rick Barnes has used a balance scoring attack, rebounding and tough defense as catalysts for the turnaround. Texas has four players averaging at least 11.5 points. Jonathan Holmes leads the team in scoring with 13 points a game.
West Virginia comes into the tournament having lost four of its last six games. The lone bright spot during this stretch is a 92-86 victory over Kansas to close the regular season. This might be the shot in the arm the Mountaineers need for the tournament. West Virginia is led by the dynamic duo of Juwan Staten and Eron Harris. The two guards combine for 36 points a game.
Texas swept the season series. The Longhorns beat West Virginia in Morgantown 80-69 Jan. 13 behind 19 points from Javan Felix and 12 points and 12 rebounds from Cameron Ridley. The rematch in Austin saw five Longhorns score in double digits in an 88-71 victory Feb. 15. Texas dominated on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 41-26. The Longhorns have struggled on the road recently, losing its last five road games. While this is technically a neutral court game, the fact of the matter is Texas is not playing in the Erwin Center where it won 16 of 18 games this season.
Tipoff is at 8:30 PM CT on the Big 12 Network. The winner of this game will play the Oklahoma vs. Baylor/TCU winner.
Jonathan Holmes – 13.0
Isaiah Taylor – 12.6
Javan Felix – 12.0
Cameron Ridley – 11.5
Demarcus Holand – 7.3
Juwan Staten – 18.4
Eron Harris – 17.9
Terry Henderson – 11.8
Devin Williams – 8.8
Remi Debo – 7.3