We beat them in Round 1, but if you look at the two teams it is eerily similar to last year's scenario, but the teams are reversed. Last season Kansas was the young team led by freshman with Texas being the tried and tested veteran squad. Both years the team filled with youth (Kansas last year, Texas this year) lost on the road to the veteran team in the regular season, but last season we avenged our earlier loss and beat Texas. Does that mean Do-Rant will avenge their earlier loss and beat us today? I think we are a better team than Texas was last season, but history does tend to repeat itself. Enough of that talk, now that I scared you let's take a look at, you know, the actual game.
What They're Saying
Burnt Orange Nation:
Player to Watch For on Texas
G A.J. Abrams: 35.1 minutes, 15.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.14 assist/turnover ratio
We have all heard about the so-called "Greatest Freshman Ever" in Kevin Do-Rant and even the Robin to his Batman, freshman PG D.J. Augustin. However, the guy who is under everyone's radar is the 3 point shooter, A.J. Abrams. What really killed us in the first half in the game in Lawrence was Abrams going something like 4-5 from 3 point range. He ended the game at 5-13, most of the shots being taken while their offense was near stagnant after Do-Rant sprained his ankle. Do-Rant and Augustin are hard enough to contain in themselves, but when you have another player who is shooting 42.7% from 3 point range adds another dynamic to your offense. If he is on fire again like he was in the first half we could be in for a long day, but if we can shut him down then we will then be able to focus on Do-Rant.
Three Keys to the Game
1) Don't Go Through the Motions
Yesterday it seemed we were just going through the motions, almost waiting for the Big 12 Tournament to be over and focus on the NCAA's. Of course, Texas will give us a much better fight than Kansas State and actually force us to play well to win. I really believe that momentum is one of the most important things in basketball, especially for college kids. We have won 10 games in a row and if that streak is snapped today we will lose all our momentum and start from ground zero. This isn't a must-win game for us, but it could be the only way we are playing our best for the NCAA's.
2) Shut Down the 3 Point Line
I hinted at this earlier talking about A.J. Abrams but we need to shut down everyone shooting the ball behind the arc. We didn't do a great job yesterday at shutting it down, Lance Harris started 5-5 yesterday and Cartier Martin made too many as well. They have a much better inside game with Damion James and Do-Rant than the Wildcats do we can't allow them to shoot that well from the 3 point line.
3) Give Julian the Ball
As evidenced by the quote from Burnt Orange Nation earlier, Julian is really emerging as one of the best players in the country. He still isn't receiving national attention, at least as much as he deserves, but he will if we can go on a deep Tournament run. He is so versatile and as I mentioned yesterday the most important player to each and every game for us, get him the ball and let him work.
RCT Prediction: Kansas 89 Texas 82
It will be a similar game to the one in Lawrence, without the gaudy shooting numbers. There is no way they can shoot as well as they did in the first half against us, of course we can't shoot as well as we did in the second half. I think we'll come out on top, we are hungry to make an impact on the bracket this season.