Texas, pardon the pun, has a lot on the line Wednesday night when the Longhorns host Oklahoma. If the rematch is anything like the first meeting in Norman the difference could be determined at the line.
Considered a NCAA Tournament bubble team by most national analysts, Texas probably needs to sweep the season series. A home loss to the Sooners (14-14 overall, 4-12 in league play) would severely damage the Longhorns’ NCAA hopes.
In the first meeting earlier this month, a 69-58 Texas win, the two most glaring stats were the Longhorns edge in points off a turnovers and an overwhelming 19-point edge at the free throw line.
That’s been the trend for both teams all season.
Texas leads the conference in free throw attempts (729), a staggering 210 more attempts than the Sooners.
“We’re trying to be aggressive,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “But I want to see us be better with details, whether that’s screens or other areas we’re not where we need to be.”
In the first meeting Texas was 24-of-29 at the line. The Sooners were 5-of-8.
“We turned the ball over early in the second half and fouled a few times in transition after we turned the ball over,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “Some of it was a result of (mistakes) on our end which resulted in them having an advantage in transition.
“Texas is a good basketball team. They have a lot of guys that can attack you, good size and experience on the inside. (J’Covan) Brown, of course, can make tough shots, big shots at critical times.”
OU’s defense played well in the first meeting, limiting the Longhorns to 38 percent shooting which will bolstered by 10 fast-break points and a 21-5 edge in points off turnovers.
The Sooners owned an eight-point lead late in the first half but Texas dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half to build a double digit lead.
“(Steven) Pledger can be as explosive as any player in the league,” Barnes said. “Their front-line players (Romero Osby and Andrew Fitzgerald) do some really neat things. They can step away from the basket or score inside. They show you some things you don’t see a lot out of post players.”