Texas players share excitement over returning to Kansas City after Big 12 Tournament

On3 imageby:On3 Staff Report03/24/23

When Texas takes on Xavier tonight in the Sweet 16, the Longhorns will do it in a place they’re pretty familiar with: the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. The Longhorns are fresh off a Big 12 Tournament title there.

It should add at least some degree of familiarity for Texas in an event that can often put players well outside their comfort zone.

“It feels good to be back. We have good memories and good energy within this gym and certain guys playing well,” veteran Brock Cunningham said. “The familiarity with the area and with the gym is something that’s going to make us more comfortable through this next game.”

That was one of the perks of Texas earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, they were slotted to the Midwest Region where the playing locations are a bit more familiar.

And while a court won’t make or break a tournament run, every little extra edge can matter.

Texas is playing some of its best basketball of the season at the moment and will be looking to continue that on a familiar floor, a floor where the Longhorns captured the Big 12 Tournament title.

“Like Brock said, obviously we have some good memories playing in this arena, and we’re definitely looking to carry that comfortability, that confidence over into this weekend as well,” guard Marcus Carr said.

Big 12 Tournament run gives Texas confidence

Texas has been playing tremendous basketball since a bit of a bump in the road at the end of the regular season. The Longhorns have now won six straight games, including two over Kansas and one over TCU.

That’s a terrific run of play, one that the Longhorns will look to keep rolling on Friday night at the T-Mobile Center.

“Coming off a good performance here, for me personally, I’m just excited to be back on this floor and embrace the moment with my teammates,” forward Timmy Allen said. “We like it here in Kansas City. So we’re just looking to carry that forward.”

Texas and Xavier will be the nightcap in Friday’s round of Sweet 16 action, with the two teams squaring off at 9:45 p.m. ET with a national broadcast on CBS.