Big 12 Tournament preview: Texas v. West Virginia

Garrett Callahan

Before they make their return in the NCAA Tournament, the Longhorns will make one stop in Kansas City, Mo., over the weekend for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament.

Three-seed Texas (22-9, 11-7 Big 12) will take on No. 6 seed West Virginia (17-14, 9-9 Big 12) Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the tournament. A win would propel them to the semifinals to play the winner of the matchup of Oklahoma and Baylor.

The Longhorns have faced West Virginia twice already this season, winning both contests, including an 88-71 win in Austin last month. Led by junior forward Johnathan Holmes, Texas will face the Mountaineers for the first time in the Big 12 Tournament as it hopes to improve its selection spot for its post-season run.

Holmes, who was recently earned All-Big 12 second team honors, leads the team in scoring (13 ppg) and ranks second on his squad in rebounding (7.3 rpg). Despite a knee injury that limited his play near the end of the season, Holmes has averaged 24.1 minutes per game and shot 51.3 percent from the floor on the year.

Texas has had moderate success in the Big 12 Tournament. It has recorded a 11-3 mark in quarterfinal matchups under Rick Barnes and reached at least the semifinal round in 12 of their first 17 appearances to the tournament. The Longhorns have reached the title game in five of the last ten years.

Kansas is expected to once again capture the conference championship, even without the help of star freshman Joel Embiid. The Jayhawks are fighting for the fourth No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which they could secure with a few wins.