Kansas-Texas Preview

Kansas is a big reason Texas has never won a Big 12 tournament

title. However, the Longhorns were the ones celebrating the last

time these rivals met.

Looking for a record eighth tournament title, the top-seeded and

second-ranked Jayhawks hope to avenge one of their two losses on

the season against the No. 10 Longhorns in Saturday’s final in

Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas (31-2) has won four of the last five Big 12 tournament

titles, three of which came courtesy of finals’ victories over

Texas from 2006-2008. Another title should all but secure a No.1

seed in the NCAA tournament.

Though the second-seeded Longhorns (27-6) are 0-5 in tournament

championship games, they overcame a 15-point deficit to snap

Kansas’ 69-game home winning streak with a 74-63 win Jan. 22.

“It was a great win for our program,” Texas coach Rick Barnes

said. “I can’t tell you how much respect I have for (Kansas coach)

Bill (Self). He’s one of the best. He’s the model of consistency

and one of the best. “We’ve had so many great games with him.”

Barnes hopes Saturday’s contest also will rank right up among

the best in the series, especially if the Longhorns can figure out

a way to end their tournament finals drought. In addition to its

three straight Big 12 championship game losses to Kansas, Texas

lost in the title game to Oklahoma State in 2004 and to Oklahoma in


“I think it would mean a lot to us,” said reserve guard J’Covan

Brown, who scored a season-high 23 points against Kansas. “If we

just go out there, just have fun. Just playing for each other, and

just executing what we do, everything else will take care of


“Kansas is probably upset about what happened at their place, so

they’re going to come out and just try to fight a whole lot.”

Another effort like the one put forth in a 70-58 semifinal

victory over Texas A&M on Friday and Texas should have a


While star Jordan Hamilton scored 17 points and Big 12 freshman

of the year Tristan Thompson added 14 with 13 rebounds, the

Longhorns dominated on the defensive end by holding the Aggies to

35.4 percent shooting and outrebounding them 39-28.

It was another solid effort for a Longhorns’ squad that led held

opponents to a league-low 37.8 percent during the regular season.

Texas held the Jayhawks to 35.9 percent shooting and twins Marcus

and Markieff Morris to a combined 26 points and 12 rebounds in


The Morris brothers were much more effective in Kansas’ 90-83

win over Colorado on Friday. Each scored 20 points with Marcus

adding 13 rebounds as the Jayhawks overcame a 12-point first-half

deficit and late second-half lapse to reach the finals for the

second straight year.

“We want to play through our bigs,” Kansas guard Tyrel Reed

said. “Marcus and Markieff are our best offensive players.”

Marcus Morris, the Big 12 player of the year, has averaged 18.0

points and 10.7 in his last three Big 12 tournament contests.

Thompson has posted double-doubles in both tournament games,

while Hamilton has totaled 39 points in those contests for the


Hamilton scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds at

Kansas this season.