What to expect as Texas men’s basketball heads into final stretch of season

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

As No. 20 Texas enters the final stretch of the season, it will face off against three ranked teams. Here are the next four matchups ahead of the Longhorns:

Feb. 7 – No. 8 Kansas
No. 8 Kansas visits the Frank Erwin Center on Monday night. Kansas is coming off of a resounding 83-59 win over reigning national champion Baylor. The Jayhawks have bounced back within their last few games after suffering a rough 80-62 loss to then-No. 5 Kentucky at home during the Big 12/SEC Challenge. With the momentum of stomping on Baylor coming into Austin Kansas will be hard to beat. Leading the Big 12 in scoring, Kansas senior guard Ochai Agbaji will be the one to watch. KenPom’s College Basketball Ratings currently give Texas a slim advantage with a 53% chance of beating Kansas. The Jayhawks sit atop the Big 12 with a 8–1 conference record.

Feb. 12 – No. 10 Baylor
No. 23 Texas’ first matchup of the season against No. 8 Baylor comes Saturday in Waco. The defending national championship team is still a postseason team. Baylor is second in the Big 12 in points per game, only behind Kansas. The Bears are 7–3 in conference play and have notable non conference wins against No. 12 Villanova and No. 13 Michigan State. Baylor senior guard James Akinjo leads the Big 12 in assists, and junior forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua has the highest field goal percentage in the conference. The Bears are poised to make another deep postseason run and have a good chance at retaining their title.

Feb. 15 – Oklahoma
Oklahoma will be looking for a win over Texas in the second Red River Rivalry matchup of the season. The two teams last met Jan. 11 in Austin, when Texas beat Oklahoma 66-52. The Sooners have not won a game in February and are ninth in the Big 12, but Oklahoma is second in the conference in field goal percentage. Senior forward Tanner Groves also continues to be a bright spot in the Sooners’ mediocre season. Groves dropped 23 points Feb. 5 in a loss against Oklahoma State. The second Red River Rivalry meeting will be in Norman, where it will be just a bit harder for Texas to get a win.

Feb. 19 – No. 9 Texas Tech
The highly anticipated second matchup between No. 23 Texas and No. 14 Texas Tech arrives later this month. Texas Tech is currently third in the Big 12 with notable wins over No. 8 Baylor and No. 22 Tennessee. The Longhorns rolled into Lubbock on Feb. 1 to an extremely hostile environment for head coach Chris Beard’s first trip back since leaving Tech last April. Texas ended up losing 77-64 in one of the most contentious game settings that the team has seen this season. However, the Longhorns have another shot to beat the Red Raiders on Feb. 19 at home.

Feb. 23 – TCU
Texas steamrolled TCU in Fort Worth 73-50 in front of a record-setting crowd at Schollmaier Arena last month. However, TCU went on to defeat No. 25 LSU just days later. The Horned Frogs are currently fifth in the Big 12, and a large part of their success is due to sophomore guard Mike Miles. The Texas local is fifth in the conference in points per game and fourth in assists per game. During his last contest against the Longhorns, Miles notched 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. Texas showed that it could defeat TCU in enemy territory, so beating TCU at home might be a bit smoother.