Big 12 Basketball

Big 12 Tournament Championship Preview: Oklahoma State vs. Texas

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Oklahoma

Here is the preview of Oklahoma State vs. Texas in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game.

No. 5 Oklahoma State (20-7) vs. No. 3 Texas (18-7), 5 p.m. CT, Saturday

Season series (tied 1-1): Texas def. Oklahoma State, 77-74, in Austin, Texas, on Dec. 20; Oklahoma State def. Texas, 75-67 (2 OT), in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Feb. 6.

Winner gets: An automatic qualifying berth in the NCAA Tournament next week.

Big 12 Tournament results: Texas: def, Texas Tech, 67-66; vs. Kansas (uncontested due to positive COVID test for Kansas); Oklahoma State: def. West Virginia, 75-72; def. Baylor, 83-74.

 

Projected starting lineups

Oklahoma State: F Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, F Kalib Boone, G Bryce Williams, G Avery Anderson III, G Cade Cunningham

Texas: F Greg Brown, F Jericho Sims, G Courtney Ramey, G Matt Coleman III, G Andrew Jones.

Player to watch

Oklahoma State: Cunningham. The coaches’ pick for Big 12 Player of the Year is having a Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Tournament written all over him, and it might be whether the Cowboys win or lose on Saturday. Cunningham is showing you everything NBA scouts love about him. In the semifinal win over Baylor, Cunningham finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal. In the quarterfinal win over West Virginia, he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. And, as if he doesn’t have an incredible game, it looks like his 3-point shooting is getting better.  

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

Texas: 6: That’s the number of appearances in the Big 12 Tournament championship game for the Longhorns going into Saturday’s game. The Longhorns have lost all six games.     

Oklahoma State: 2: That’s the number of Big 12 Tournament championships the Cowboys have won. Those two titles came in 2004 and 2005, with the latter coming in Kemper Arena in Kansas City.  

Who wins?: There’s something to be said for the extra day of rest in a tournament like this. That’s what Texas got when Kansas had to bow out due to a positive COVID test. The big advantage that Texas has on Oklahoma State is its size . They have three solid forwards that can play inside or outside and stretch you around the court. Jericho Sims is playing some of his best basketball of the season. The Cowboys do have size, especially with Kalib Boone, but they don’t have quite THAT much size. Still, the Cowboys proved they have the talent to beat Texas when they played each other in February. And one could argue that both teams are better now than they were five weeks ago. The real question is which one is better than the other right now. After watching both teams the past two days, I think Oklahoma State is the team to beat in this game. Cade Cunningham and Avery Anderson III are playing terrific basketball. Mike Boynton’s move to a matchup zone in key situations is really throwing teams off. And I think this team has the potential to get a lead early and keep it, even though OSU typically starts slow. Texas can win this game. The Longhorns need crack 3-point shooting from their guards, and they’ll need forward Greg Brown to bounce back from that awful game against Texas Tech. I expect a game that comes down to the wire, and I expect Oklahoma State to be hoisting the Big 12 trophy by the end of the evening.

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