It’s official. The Texas Longhorns (23-3, 11-0) deserve the nation’s No. 1 rank.
The Horns should easily stampede their way into the nation’s top spot after their 73-55 victory against the Oklahoma State Cowboys (16-9, 4-7) on Wednesday.
Of Course, the Longhorns did receive some help from Kansas’ in state rival, Kansas State. Only hours after claiming the number one spot, Kansas was overpowered by the Wildcats 84-68, leaving the top spot prime for the taking.
The Longhorns remain undefeated in the Big 12, leaving them as the only D-I school to maintain an untarnished record in conference play (excluding the Ivy League Princeton).
The tone of the game was set immediately, as Tristan Thompson disrupted the Cowboys first possession with a strong block. Once on the offensive end of the court, the Horns secured the lead. The Longhorns never relinquished their lead, which forced Oklahoma State to play catch-up the entire night.
The Longhorns have the luxury of two established post players in the form of Thompson and Matt Hill. Once Big 12 play began, Texas decided to stop renting and start buying. It has become evident that the Longhorns officially own the paint.
Jordan Hamilton continues to be a statistical leader for Texas, but this game belonged to Gary Johnson. Johnson recorded only one missed shot from the field, while throwing down 17 points. Johnson took his strong performance to the boards as he pulled in 10 rebounds, earning him a double-double.
The Longhorns continue to prove that they are a two-way basketball team. Each game makes it more apparent that the Longhorns will not only embarrass your offense, but they will even shred through your defense.
The offense is functioning like a well-oiled machine, with all of its parts producing at full capacity. The ability to score without relying on one player is something that most top teams lack. With four of the starting five in double digits, it would be easy to label this team solely as an ‘offensive unit.’
However, the defense continues to stifle opposing offenses, and unfortunately for the Cowboys, they were no exception. Oklahoma State could only muster a measly field goal percentage of 37.5%. With seven blocks and nine steals the Horns further establish their versatility by being efficient with their speed or their size.
Game Grade: A
The only thing preventing the heralded score of an A+? The Horns inability to make free throws with any consistency. Texas came up blank on 12 of their 28 free throws, which is just unacceptable for a soon to be number one team.
Texas prepares to head north for their upcoming game against Nebraska on Feb. 19th. With only five games left on the schedule, this team could end the season with an immense amount of momentum. And trust me, the Longhorns and fans alike are hoping this momentum will carry this team deep into March Madness.