OU Basketball: Rivalry Week Continues With Saturday's Showdown Against Texas

Friday, February 26th 2016, 8:13 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

Saturday is a big day for college hoops, and the No. 3 Oklahoma basketball team will face its last true road test of the season when they take on rival Texas in Austin at 1 p.m.

Anytime two Big 12 teams hit the floor it’s worth watching, but the rivalry aspect to this matchup brings some added intrigue.

Here are a few things to know before game time:

Longhorns are seeking revenge

Back on February 9, it was the Sooners that came out on top in the Red River Rivalry as Buddy Hield hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to seal the 63-60 OU win.

The Longhorns gave the Sooners everything they wanted and more in that game, and OU was fortunate to have a chance at that Hield game-winner after UT’s Isaiah Taylor was called for an offensive foul just seconds before when the junior had a chance to put the Longhorns ahead.

There’s no question Shaka Smart’s squad still thinks about that contest ended, and the Sooners will need to be prepared to face a Texas team that’s itching for revenge on Saturday afternoon. Texas is 3-0 this season at home against AP top 20 opponents which includes wins over North Carolina, Baylor and Iowa State.

The Frank Erwin Center should be rocking, which gives Oklahoma yet another chance to earn a solid win on the road.

Texas protects the ball

Texas isn’t a team that turns over the ball a lot, and has the fewest turnovers in the Big 12 with only 144 throughout conference play.

Guard Isaiah Taylor is the Longhorns’ biggest playmakers, averaging 17.3 points over the last three games and has been knocking down shots at an efficient rate. Taylor will have the help of freshman Eric Davis Jr., who’s scored in double-digits six times throughout conference play.

Oklahoma is a solid defensive team and rank first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (.398), but in order to win convincingly on Saturday the Sooners will need to disrupt the Texas’ offense and force them into making bad decisions.

Last true road test

Saturday afternoon will be the last time this season the Sooners will have to face a ranked team in their arena, seeing the only road game remaining for OU comes against TCU on March 5. OU will be heavy favorites to win that game against the lowly Horned Frogs, so Saturday’s road matchup at UT proves to be OU’s toughest remaining test on the season.  

A win on the road against a top 25 team is a big accomplishment, and beating a rival like Texas would give the Sooners a huge confidence boost heading into the most important stretch of the season.