Teams: Oklahoma State (14-5, 2-3) vs. Texas (16-3, 4-0)
Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, OK
Time: 6:30 PM CST
AP Rankings: Oklahoma State – N/A, Texas – #7
RPI: Oklahoma State – #38, Texas – #15
Line: Texas -5
Behind enemy lines: Burnt Orange Nation
You think this is going to be an emotional game? An undefeated in conference play #7 ranked Texas team coming off a historic victory in Phog Allen over then #2 Kansas. An undefeated at home OSU squad with a massive opportunity to reverse their 2011 Big 12 fortunes. A nationally televised game attended by a who’s who list of Oklahoma State basketball alumni. The 10th anniversary ceremonies. I’m glad, in a way, that nobody associated with the 2011 program has ties to anybody associated with the 2001 program. It means they can play to honor and be spurred on by a heavy-hearted crowd, but they won’t be overwhelmed. I don’t think.
Texas is coming off one of the biggest regular season weeks in school history having just blown the doors off of then #11 A&M in Austin and, as previously mentioned, taming the spirit of the Phog in Lawrence. Jordan Hamilton (you know him as “that kid who had a career-high in Stillwater last year and didn’t miss a shot for like 28 minutes”) is an All-American candidate and showed it last week, as he poured in 27 against the Aggies and posted a 17 and 9 spot against KU. They’re deep too, with five guys who essentially average double figures and nine guys who average more than fifteen minutes. Good thing considering the non-conference minefield they had to tiptoe through: Pitt (L), at USC (L), North Carolina (W), at Michigan State (W), Arkansas (W), and UConn (L).
What I’m worried about:
Two things. First, Texas is essentially a rich man’s Baylor in terms of athleticism and they way they play. Baylor is probably longer overall but Texas can spread it out and run it down your throat. They have so many guys who can do it too, sometimes it feels like they’re running lines in and out like a hockey team. The second thing I’m worried about is the emotion. Like I said earlier, I think the bond between the past and this present team is dull enough that it won’t over-affect them but still, we don’t exactly have a stellar track record in big, emotional games at GIA. OU in the last game at the old arena, Texas on senior night for the Final Four guys, OU on senior night in 2008 without Blake Griffin. Need I go on, or are those three painful enough?
Two random stats that (probably) only interest me:
Oklahoma State is 9th in the Big 12 in home attendance. I expect that to change tonight, and if it doesn’t then we have bigger problems than “man that Holder guy sure is a jerk for charging such high prices.”
Texas is the first team since Michigan in 1992-1993 (yes, THAT one) to beat KU, UNC, and Michigan State away from home in the same season.
Video to get you ready:
There were so many to choose from…but…remember how much we all hated James Thomas? What if this happens tomorrow? Will GIA make a 13,611-person dogpile on Dogus Balbay?