We have a great matchup between the Kansas Jayhawks and Texas Longhorns on Saturday, as has been the case throughout the entire Big 12 season.
This could be a big game for the Longhorns in terms of seeding, as they could possibly take sole possession of No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. This will depend on the results from the other conference matchups. However, I expect a tremendous effort.
If you haven’t heard it before, Bill Self’s Jayhawks will be entering the Big 12 Tournament as regular season champions. It will be interesting to see Kansas’s motivation for a matchup that won’t alter its seeding.
Let’s not jump to conclusions about which team is most motivated.
The Jayhawks have been playing their best basketball in the last few weeks and enter this matchup with a seven-game winning streak.
Jayhawks star forward Jalen Wilson is still the anchor of the inexperienced team. He leads the team with 19.6 points per match.
They rank within the top 20 for adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. These metrics support the story of the Jayhawks going back to back. They rank near the middle of the pack for free-throw percentage, which is a positive sign that they aren’t completely inept in this area.
We must consider motivation when deciding on this matchup. What level of motivation is Self’s team going into Austin? They have nothing to lose. We’ll see this from the start, so be aware of that as you watch the first minutes.
This is a big game for the Longhorns, who have the opportunity to seize control of the 2-seed in the Big 12 Tournament. Coming off of back-to-back losses, I’m curious to see how Rodney Terry’s team responds in this tough matchup.
I still like the structure of this Texas team, and its metrics speak for themselves. Texas ranks inside the top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency, which is the recipe for making a deep run in March.
It also loves getting out in transition by forcing turnovers, another category in which it ranks in the top 20. Guard Marcus Carr and forward Sir Jabari Rice continue to be huge difference-makers on offense, and their performances directly correlate with the Longhorns’ success.
Despite its recent struggles, I think Texas matches up well with this Kansas team. The Horns suffered an 88-80 loss to KU in Lawrence earlier last month, but they shot 3-of-16 from beyond the arc. Even with a slight improvement in that area, I think they will be able to find offensive success this time around.
I am concerned about matching up with Kansas’ size, but the talent gap is pretty even overall.
Kansas beat Texas 88-80 a few weeks ago, and the Longhorns shot horrible from the arc.
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