Preview: Oklahoma at Texas
February, 29, 2012
By Brandon Chatmon | ESPN.com
Oklahoma is looking to avenge its Valentine’s Day loss to Texas when the Sooners travel to face the Longhorns on Wednesday night at the Ervin Center in Austin, Texas.
In the first meeting the Sooners struggled to contain UT’s guards, Myck Kabongo and J'Covan Brown, who sparked the 69-58 Longhorns win.
Even though the Sooners will face Texas A&M in the first round of the Big 12 tournament regardless of the outcome in its next two games, OU is hoping to grab some momentum heading into postseason play.
Key to OU win: Containing Kabongo and Brown off the dribble. Both players are excellent at getting into the lane and creating opportunities for themselves and teammates. OU must play strong perimeter defense on Wednesday.
Key to UT win: Forcing anyone but Steven Pledger to beat them. When Pledger is playing well offensively, it sparks the entire OU squad so getting him out of rhythm can knock the Sooners out of rhythm.
Stat line that will tell the tale: UT free throw attempts. In the first meeting, UT made 24 of 29 free throws, while OU shot just eight free throws total, making five of those attempts.
Sooners X factor: Andrew Fitzgerald. As teams have begun to defend him differently, Fitzgerald has struggled to find ways to score in OU’s last four games. The last time he scored in double figures was Feb. 11. The Sooners are more dangerous when the junior forward is involved.
Longhorns X factor: Sheldon McClellan. One of the best sixth men in the conference, McClellan scored 13 points in the first meeting. He’s an efficient scorer who takes advantage of the penetration of Kabongo and Brown.