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March 3, 2007
Texas is hoping the encore is even better than the main event.
After a thrilling 98-96 win in double overtime over No. 7 Texas A&M on Wednesday, the Longhorns could claim a share of the Big 12 title against No. 3 Kansas on Saturday.
With a win, though, Kansas will win the outright conference title and bolster its chances for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A loss could mean dropping to a No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. It would also be only the second win by a Big 12 South team in Lawrence (The first being Texas A&M on Feb. 3).
Whatever the outcome, the play of Texas freshman Kevin Durant always makes the game a must-see, and chances to watch Durant in college could end sooner rather than later.
For Kansas coach Bill Self, the matchup will be something of a role reversal. Last year, the Jayhawks started three freshmen and two sophomores. Texas coach Rick Barnes has one-upped him in 2007 by starting four freshmen and one sophomore.
Of course, if that one extra freshman is Durant, it makes a big difference.
"They are even a little younger than we were last year," Self said. "Both teams are incredibly young. Our team got a lot better as we went on and Texas is doing the same thing. But Texas has one thing that our team did not have last year, something no team has. It may be easier for some of their guys to know you can pencil in 25 points and 12 rebounds even on an off-night."
No. 15 Texas (22-7, 12-3 Big 12) takes on No. 3 Kansas (26-4, 13-2 Big 12) at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday at noon Eastern. The game will be televised on CBS. We'll take a look at the head-to-head matchups in our Game of the Week breakdown.
Prediction: Kansas 77, Texas 73