Kansas City, MO – The Texas Longhorns hope to pull off a big- time upset as they square off with the second-seeded Kansas State Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center.
The winner of this game will take on the victor of the Oklahoma State/Baylor matchup in Friday's semifinal round.
This will be the 26th meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Kansas State holds a 15-10 all-time series lead after its season- series sweep that included two double-digit victories.
The seventh-seeded Longhorns coasted to a 70-57 victory over TCU in their first round game on Thursday. Julien Lewis finished with 19 points to spearhead the charge, while Myck Kabongo tallied 16 points, six assists and four boards. The win was the third in a row for Rick Barnes's unit, which has clearly been a much better team since Kabongo returned from a lengthy suspension that kept him out for much of the regular season. The Longhorns are still one of the weaker offensive teams in the conference with just 65.7 ppg on 41.4 percent shooting from the field.
Sheldon McClellan chipped in 12 points for the Longhorns on Thursday in the win over TCU. The Horned Frogs made good on only 32 percent of their field goal tries after the break. Texas shot 57.9 percent from the floor and went 18-of-20 at the charity stripe over the final 20 minutes to earn the double- digit margin win. Texas outscored TCU, 20-12, in the paint. Kabongo has produced 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.9 steals per tilt in the eight games he has played this season. McClellan is the second-leading scorer with 14.1 ppg, but he and Lewis are both shooting under 40 percent from the floor on the year.
The Wildcats did not miss a beat this season after Bruce Weber came from Illinois to replace Frank Martin, the Big 12 Coach of the Year. Weber set a program record for wins by a first-year head coach and helped KSU arrive at an 11th ranking by the end of the regular season. KSU's tally of 14 league wins tied the school record set by the 1958-59 team.
The Wildcats also have a talented backcourt to rely on. Rodney McGruder leads the way with 15.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, while sophomore point guard Angel Rodriguez (11.5 ppg, 5.5 apg) engineers the offense. KSU actually earned a share of the Big 12 regular season crown despite its second-seed. In the team's regular season-ending loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, McGruder paced the team with 22 points, while Thomas Gipson netted 15 points.