Texas' quest for the automatic Big 12 NCAA tournament bid lives on for another day after last night's 70-57 win over lowly TCU in the opening round.
Texas must slow the Big 12's seventh-leading scorer Rodney McGruder in Thursday night's quarterfinal.
Things get much tougher moving forward, beginning with tonight's 6 p.m. tip against 2-seed Kansas State.
A strong second half was enough for the Horns to get past a TCU squad that won just two conference games all season, but they'll need much more tonight when they play K-State (25-6, 14-4 Big 12).
The Wildcats beat Texas (16-16, 7-11) by double digits in both meetings this year, including a 26-point humiliation of the Longhorns in Manhattan on Jan. 30. Kansas State is a tough team that leads the conference in defense (60.5 points per game) and offensive rebounding (13.35 per game; 39% of its misses).
"It's going to get down to competing and finishing possessions," head coach Rick Barnes said Wednesday night of the matchup against the Wildcats. "This time of year it's hard, every game is hard."
Texas allowed TCU - one of the league's worst rebounding teams - to grab 12 offensive boards Wednesday night. If the Longhorns bring that type of effort to the glass in tonight's quarterfinal, it won't end well for the guys in burnt orange.
"We can't just match their effort," Barnes said. "We're going to have to play harder than we've ever played."
Big 12 Quarterfinals
11:30 - No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Iowa State (ESPN2)
2:00 - No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 9 Texas Tech (ESPN2)
6:00 - No. 2 Kansas State vs. No. 7 Texas (Big 12 Network)
8:30 - No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 Baylor (Big 12 Network)
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