Here is the preview of Kansas vs. Texas in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
NOTE: Kansas dropped out of the Big 12 Tournament on Friday afternoon after a positive COVID-19 test within the program. The game is uncontested and Texas will advance to the Big 12 Championship game on Saturday afternoon.
No. 2 Kansas (20-8) vs. No. 3 Texas (18-7), 8:30 p.m. CT, Friday
Season series (Texas won 2-0): Texas def. Kansas, 84-59, in Lawrence, Kansas, on Jan. 2; Texas def. Kansas, 75-72 (OT), in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 23.
Winner gets: a berth in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship game at 5 p.m. CT.
Big 12 Tournament results: Kansas: def. Oklahoma, 69-62; Texas: def, Texas Tech, 67-66.
Projected starting lineups
Kansas: F Jalen Wilson, F Mitch Lightfoot, G Christian Braun, G Ochai Agbaji, G Marcus Garrett.
Texas: F Greg Brown, F Jericho Sims, G Courtney Ramey, G Matt Coleman III, G Andrew Jones.
Player to watch
Kansas: Agbaji. With David McCormack out for the Big 12 Tournament due to COVID-19 protocols, the question was who would step up for the Jayhawks. Well, a few players had solid games for Kansas. But Agbaji was the one that filled the scoring void, scoring 26 points and connected in four 3-pointers in the seven-point win over the Sooners. Agbaji has now hit for double figures in four of his last five games, and scored at least two 3-pointers in six of his last seven games. If there’s a player that is going to hurt you from outside on this Kansas team, it’s Agbaji. One note: The last time Agbaji scored 20 or more points in a game was against Texas Tech on Dec. 17 when he scored 23 points. The next game he scored 11.
Texas: Coleman III. Texas had some great performances on Thursday, including a 15-point outing off the bench from 3-point sharpshooter Jase Febres. But Coleman was the Longhorn they turned to in the clutch, as he drew a foul with 1.8 seconds remaining, drained two free throws and lifted Texas to the win. He finished the game with 19 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. This was an elite game from Coleman, who has figured prominently in Texas’ rise to a Top 15 program this season. Every guard has a role on this team. Coleman is their best on-ball driver and facilitator, and on Thursday he showed why.
Number to know
Kansas: 2017: That was the last time the Jayhawks failed to get to the Big 12 Tournament championship game. That season, Iowa State and West Virginia duked it out, with Iowa State winning.
Texas: 5: That’s the number of 3-pointers Jase Febres hit on Thursday against Texas Tech. All nine of his shots were from behind the arc. Texas had 11 for the game and shot 42.3 percent from the arc.
Who wins?: I’m taking Texas. Kansas head coach Bill Self talked about this match up during his postgame press conference on Thursday. He assumed that if Texas won, he would go big inside. That means Kansas will likely start forward Mitch Lightfoot . Even with Lightfoot in the starting lineup, the Longhorns have a big advantage inside. Now, it will be interesting to see where Brown’s head is at after becoming frustrated and leaving the floor during Thursday’s win for the Longhorns. We have to assume he will start. But the way Texas’ guards are playing right now, combined with the advantage that the Longhorns have in the frontcourt, leads me to believe that Texas will beat The Jayhawks and meet either Baylor or Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship game.