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Next For Texas: Baylor

We asked what was next after Texas' exciting win over Oklahoma and we got an emphatic answer in their loss at No. 15 Oklahoma State. A loss that wasn't as close as the final 13-point margin suggests.

Pierre Jackson, the Big 12's leader in points and assists, will be a very tough test for the Texas guards Monday night.

Today the Horns must yet again lick their wounds after their ninth double-digit loss of the season as they prepare to host NCAA tournament bubble team Baylor in the final game of the season at the Erwin Center (8 p.m., ESPN).

Hope that an emotional win over the Sooners last week would create some momentum over the final few regular season games and into the Big 12 tournament came to a screeching halt in Stillwater over the weekend. Texas (13-16, 5-11 Big 12) was once again exposed as a team that can't create offense in the halfcourt with its current roster.

Hope remains on the Texas bench with next week's Big 12 tournament, though Texas' chances of winning four games in four days against conference opponents its only managed to beat five times in 16 tries are as slim as they come.

"Regardless of what kind of year you have, you have a chance to play your way into the NCAA tournament," head coach Rick Barnes said during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference.

Quick Look at Baylor

The Bears are desperate for some wins right now. Baylor (16-11, 7-7 Big 12) has lost seven of its last nine games and is now likely on the outside looking in for a ticket to the Big Dance.

All seven of the Bears recent losses have come to conference opponents that are either in or probably in when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but good losses only go so far. The Bears need to end the season strong and you can believe they know it.

Texas took Baylor to overtime when they played in Waco in their Big 12 opener back on Jan. 5 thanks to a combined 47 points from Sheldon McClellan and Javan Felix. The Bears came out on top of that one as the Horns couldn't slow down Corey Jefferson (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Isaiah Austin (18 and 12) in the post, nor could they stop the Big 12's leading scorer, senior guard Pierre Jackson (24 points).

Though Kabongo will be back to help guard Jackson, who also leads the conference in assists, is fourth in steals and second in three-pointers made, keeping him quiet hasn't been easy for anybody this season.

Finding a way to prevent the Baylor bigs from going off again will also be huge for Texas.

Jefferson, a redshirt junior out of Killeen, is having a career year, putting up almost eight more points and six more rebounds per game than his previous highs.

Austin, the athletic 7-foot-1 potential one-and-doner, has shown flashes of what is making some NBA scouts drool, ranking third in the Big 12 with ten double-doubles on the season.

Baylor has put itself into a corner with so many losses over the last month. A loss to Texas (No. 126 in RPI) would almost certainly end their chances of dancing this year, which means the Longhorns better be ready to match the intensity of a desperate team, or a very disappointing season will add another bad chapter on Senior Night in Austin.

Starters
G Pierre Jackson, 5'10", Sr., (19.0 pts (41.9% FG, 35.2% 3s), 6.4 ast, 3.5 reb, 1.5 stl)
G A.J. Walton, 6'1", Sr., (7.2 pts (42.0% FG, 28.6% 3s), 3.6 ast, 4.6 reb)
G Brady Heslip, 6'2", Jr., (8.9 pts, 39.2% 3s)
F Cory Jefferson, 6'9", Jr., (11.9 pts, 58.1% FG, 8.3 reb, 1.9 blks)
C Isaiah Austin, 7'1", Fr., (13.6 pts (46.8% FG, 32.1% 3s, 59.1% FTs), 9.0 reb, 1.6 blks)

Reserves
F Rico Gathers, 6'8", Fr., (5.9 pts, 5.7 reb)
G Gary Franklin, 6'2", Jr., (3.7 pts, 33.3% 3s, 1.1 ast)
G Deuce Bello, 6'4", So., (2.1 pts, 1.4 reb)
G L.J. Rose, 6'4", Fr., (1.0 pts, 0.6 reb)

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