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Quick Thoughts: Texas secures huge win in Big 12 quarterfinals over Texas Tech

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Throughout the second half, there were times where it appeared Texas was ready to throw in the towel and accept an early exit from the Big 12 tournament. The turnovers, lack of energy and inconsistent play of several starters from the Longhorns had Texas Tech on the verge of running away with their third victory of the season against Shaka Smart's team. Instead, Texas found an extra gear over the final 10 minutes of the second half to secure one of their biggest victories of the season, a 67-66 win over the Red Raiders.

Here are some quick thoughts and takeaways from an eventful game filled with plenty of storylines:

  • Matt Coleman was the hero of the night, sinking a pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left to put the Longhorns up 1. The senior has taken plenty of big shots throughout the season and his career, so it was likely to the surprise of no one inside the program that he calmly stepped up to the line and put the game into the win column. If Texas hopes to advance far into the NCAA tournament, they will play in a number of close games and will need someone they can turn to when they need a bucket. Coleman is that guy right now.
  • The emergence of Jase Febres over the last few weeks has really given the Longhorns a shot in the arm offensively. Febres connected on 5 three pointers off the bench tonight and is proving to be the most reliable spot up shooter Shaka Smart has at the moment. He will be a major key for Texas unlocking their full potential. Coleman's ability to get in the paint and kick will allow Febres to continue to get open looks from the outside. 
  • Jericho Sims turned in another steady performance with 10 points and 11 rebounds in addition to providing some excellent defense. As long as he is able to avoid foul trouble (which is a big questions mark), Sims is proving to be one of the best athletic big men in the country.
  • Shifting to some of the negatives, Texas turned the ball over way too often. The Longhorns racked up 20 turnovers and gave away a lot of possessions. It is an issue that has plagued Texas all season and it has not been corrected. It ended up not hurting them tonight, but when the tournament kicks off in one week, one sloppy performance could mean the end of the season.
  • Greg Brown and Courtney Ramey had very forgettable performances. Brown (2 points and 6 rebounds) racked up 5 turnovers in only 13 minutes of action and was seen heading to the locker room at one point during the second half. It is not known if he needed to cool off or was getting checked for some sort of injury (Brown did appear to land awkwardly on his ankle earlier in the game), but he did not re-enter the game after that point. Brown simply has to take better care of the ball and know the scouting report is out on him. Teams are beginning to play him a certain way when he drives and know he is susceptible to offensive fouls. Ramey finished with no points and was almost a complete non-factor in the game after picking up two quick fouls in the first half. It appeared to just be an off night for #3 all around.

Big Picture and What's Next?

The win this evening likely means Texas will be no worse than a 4 seed on selection Sunday, but there is probably a decent chance the Longhorns currently sit as a 3 seed. A win over Kansas in tomorrow's semifinal matchup would likely lock up that 3 seed. The Longhorns have already beaten the Jayhawks twice this season.

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