AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas can end all speculation by winning their next game Thursday. The Longhorns will face Texas Tech in a Big 12 Championship Quarterfinal at 11:30 a.m. from Kansas City’s Sprint Center.
The Longhorns and Red Raiders will be playing their game in a near empty arena. Like many other basketball conferences, the Big 12 changed its attendance policy to a family and friends stance amid concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. Each team will receive 125 tickets to disperse among essential family for each game.
On the court, Texas is coming off of a blowout loss to Oklahoma State Saturday, a game that could have solidified a spot in “The Big Dance.”
It was an opportunity that slipped away, but Shaka Smart wants his team’s focus to remain on the court and not on the brackets as they enter postseason play.
“As long as we’re still playing in the conference tournament, we have the opportunity to show who we are and play well and improve our standings, so that’s where our focus needs to be, not so much on trying to guess where people think we are,” Smart said.
Now, the Longhorns are tasked with having to win against a Texas Tech team that they have defeated in Lubbock on February 29.
“There is a lot on the line, but that’s what happens when you come play at this level but you can’t have it both ways where you want to play in big games but you don’t there to be a lot on the line, you have to go after it, that’s the opportunity we have and it’s an exciting one,” Smart added.
It’s safe to say another win against Texas Tech could lock up a spot, but it’s not exactly set in stone. According to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, Texas is currently one of the last four teams in. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has them as one of the last four teams out of the tournament.
Texas and Texas Tech will tip off Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in Kansas City.