Oklahoma Preview, Part Three

Oklahoma will be hoping that the third time's the charm when they take on the Texas Longhorns for Red River Part III in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament Thursday.

To be sure, the first two didn't go the Sooners' way. Oklahoma (14-17) was drubbed by Texas (25-6) by 20 in Austin, and followed that up with a 16-point loss in Norman. The Sooners were totally shut down in both matchups, scoring an average of 48 points while shooting less than 36 percent from the field and 21 percent from the three-point arc.

The Longhorns, meanwhile, didn't have nearly as many problems scoring, shooting 49 percent from the field and 44 percent from three. In the first game, four Longhorns scored in double-digits. In the second, five players scored 10-or-more points.

The only Oklahoma player to have much success against Texas was forward Andrew Fitzgerald, who averaged 17 points per game over the two contests.

But the Sooners have been playing better of late, beating rival Oklahoma State before claiming a dominating 84-67 win against a Baylor team without Perry Jones III Wednesday. Cade Davis has emerged as a reliable scorer, topping the 20-point mark in five of the last six games and averaging 21 points per game over those contests. He dropped in 24 points Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Steven Pledger has emerged as an excellent defender, and Carl Blair has shown the ability to be a distributor. He dropped 11 dimes while scoring 14 points against Baylor.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns have been somewhat on a downtrend, losing three of their last five, with Jordan Hamilton — who tore through Oklahoma in the two previous games — struggling to find his stroke.

Based on past results, this one shouldn't be close. But based on current form, the game — set for 6 p.m. — could be interesting.

The Sooners are playing for their lives. With their record, the post-season is out unless Oklahoma can pull off an unlikely run to the Big 12 Tournament championship. Meanwhile, the Longhorns are playing for seeding, both positively and negatively. A loss to a team ranked outside the Ken Pomeroy top-100 could cause Texas to lose a spot or two. Winning the whole tournament could push the Longhorns up a spot.

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