This is the question that will decide the outcome of tomorrow morning's game. Kevin Durant is a great player, no doubt, and whoever picks #1 in the NBA Draft should definately take him over the overrated and overhyped center for Ohio State. Even though are defense is one of the best in the country, so is Texas A&M's and they allowed 98 points to Bevo on Wednesday night including 30 to KD himself. While our ability to stopping Kevin Durant is the biggest key to tomorrow afternoon's game, you could make an arguement that the most important person person for Texas' possible NCAA Tournament run could be their own freshman PG D.J. Augustin. Augustin is a very good player but like Mike Conley Jr. of Ohio State, gets overlooked because of the big name freshman on their own team.
There is a ton at stake tomorrow morning when these two tames face off. First and foremost, the Big 12 regular season championship will go to the winner of the game because if Bevo upsets us then all 3 schools (KU, A&M and Texas) will be tied and Texas would hold the tiebreaker against both schools. Second, and would could end up being the more important thing in the long run, is seeding for the NCAA Tournament. I have said it before and will say it again, if your team is good enough you will make the Final Four regardless of seeding. Matchups do count though and after our last two years of first round exits we at least need an easy matchup in Round 1 to get that monkey off our backs. After all that pre-preview talk, let's actually talk about the game.
Texas' Tournament Status
Texas is a lock to make the Tournament. Seeding is the main issue for the Longhorns, some people think they could be as high as a #2 seed (would likely need a victory tomorrow along with the Big 12 Tournament title to have a legit claim) and others think they should be as low as a #7 seed. Looking at bracket "experts" (i.e. professional guessers) should be interesting.
According to this chart, Texas is a 5 seed when you average all of the seeds together. The highest seed anyone gave them was a 4 and the lowest a 9, both with more than one choosing that as their guess.
Texas by the Numbers
Offensive Efficiency: 7th
Offensive Efficiency (Adj): 3rd
Defensive Efficiency: 102nd
Defensive Efficiency (Adj): 58th
Why Texas Will Win
1) Kevin Durant
KD is an absolute monster and very well could single-handedly lead his team to victory in what is likely his only trip to the Phog. He is unstoppable and can only be contained, which is easier said than done. Will get something like 28 and 15, which is plenty against this solid Jayhawk defense.
2) Scoring Prowess of Guards
There are plenty of scorers not named Durant on Texas' team. The most known, albeit not by much, is their freshman PG D.J. Augustin. Augustin scored plenty of his own on Wednesday night against the Aggies and is averaging 14.8 points a game along with 6.6 assists. Their "veteran" that gets considerable minutes is sophomore A.J. Abrams, a 3 point shooting expert who struggles once he enters the lane. He's only shooting 43% from the 3 point line and that is the key part of his game, if someone is going to shoot let's let it be A.J.
Why Kansas Will Win
1) Homecourt Advantage
This cast of young kids has never played in as hostile of an environment as AFH. I don't think they will be ready for how loud it not only gets but stays and won't start out hot. They will eventually get used to it but we need to jump out to an early enough lead to negate their late push.
There is no rhyme or reason to who is going to lead the team in scoring from game to game, but recently the hottest player is ever-inconsistent Julian Wright. My prediction to lead our team in scoring tomorrow? Sherron Collins. He is pissed off after being held scoreless for the first time in his college career and will come back with a passion. I haven't read anything about Russell Robinson's turf toe so hopefully he will be in the starting lineup, allowing Sherron to come off the bench where it seems he is more comfortable.
Starting Lineups and Player Matchups
Russell Robinson vs. D.J. Augustin
Mario Chalmers vs. A.J. Abrams
Brandon Rush vs. Justin Mason
Julian Wright vs. Kevin Durant
Sasha Kaun vs. Damion James
Sherron Collins/Rodrick Stewart vs. J.D. Lews/Craig Winder
ADVANTAGE: SC and Co.
Darrell Arthur/Darnell Jackson vs. Connor Atchley/Dexter Pittman
ADVANTAGE: DA and DJack
KU Intangibles vs. UT Intangibles
ADVANTAGE: KU (home court advantage)
Bill Self vs. Rick Barnes
TOTAL: Kansas 6 Texas 3
Three Keys to the Game
1) Shutdown D.J. Augustin
KD is inevitably going to go off for at least 20 on you. All we can do is slow him down, and the best way to do that is to take away the Robin to his Batman. Augustin is a great young guard and will get the spotlight next season once Durant leaves for the $$$$. If RR, Super and SC can shut him down our chances of winning will go way up because no matter how much Durant scores our team is good enough to beat what would essentially be a one man scoring team.
2) Let the Freshmen Score
While we survived against Boomer Sooner with two goose eggs in the scoring column from our two freshmen, we probably can't pull off the same feat tomorrow morning. SC and DA both need to show up and in big ways tomorrow, not only for winnin-the-game purposes but to show Bevo fans that we have some pretty good freshmen too.
3) Who Wants the Big 12 Title?
We want to win the conference crown, don't we? They want to too though, so a lot of determining the winner tomorrow will be who wants it more. I think, with the Phog behind us, we will have the edge in that regard and become victorious. Which leads us to the...
RCT Prediction: Kansas 82 Texas 76
Post your own predictions in this thread.