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Kansas Jayhawks Basketball at Texas Longhorns Preview

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Before Kansas defeated TCU on Wednesday, the last team Kansas had defeated by double digits was Texas when the ‘Horns came to Allen Fieldhouse last month. Kansas makes the return trip tomorrow, facing a Texas team that has lost its last four games and is being outscored in Big 12 play by around 7 points per 100 possessions.

Offense has been the bugaboo for the ‘Horns despite Texas shooting 51.5 percent (2nd in the league) on twos. That’s about where it ends, however. Texas doesn’t get a ton of shots off (21.2 percent turnover rate), doesn’t shoot well from outside the arc (31.3 percent), doesn’t take a lot of threes, and doesn’t rebound many of its misses (28.2 percent, 9th in the league). Texas has scored over a point per possession just three times in Big 12 play so far.

Defense has been another matter. Texas was the top defense in the league for a time and has settled in as the 3rd best defense in the league, allowing 1.048 points per possession in Big 12 play. Some of that is probably luck, however, as Texas gives up a fair number of threes (comparatively speaking), while opponents shoot just 34.5 percent behind the arc. Somehow I guess giving up that many threes to Kansas won’t go as well. The other good news for Kansas is Texas forces turnovers on just 17.6 percent of possessions in Big 12 play. Texas doesn’t allow teams to pound the glass much, but Kansas should be able to get off a lot of good looks.

Players to Watch

Jarrett Allen, freshman forward

Allen has been great this year, playing the 6th most minutes of anyone in the Big 12, shooting 60 percent on twos, and ranking 6th in offensive rebounding and 3rd in defensive rebounding. He had a huge game in Allen Fieldhouse, and probably will have an even better one in Austin.

Andrew Jones, freshman guard

Jones has turned himself into a decent shooter, shooting 36 percent on threes, and he’s athletic enough to get to the rim. He also ranks 7th in the league in assist rate, and is possibly the team’s best perimeter defender.

Kerwin Roach, sophomore guard

Roach has the highest assist rate on the team, although it rings a bit hollow with a 24 percent turnover rate. He is an OK shooter from deep (32 percent), but is shooting under 40 percent on twos.

Things to Watch For

  1. Interior defense - Texas needs Jarrett Allen to have any shot of winning this one. Landen Lucas struggled a bit against TCU, and Allen is one of the rare guys Lucas doesn’t match up terribly well with, so Kansas might defend him similarly to how they did Johnathan Motley.
  2. Jump shooting - Texas has a decent interior defense, but will give up some open shots on the perimeter. Kansas needs to hit some of them.
  3. Rest - I will keep harping on it. I understand they get a ton of rest during the week, but Frank Mason played 39 minutes Wednesday. That needs to be under 30.