Preview and Game Thread: Texas Tech vs. Texas

Date: Saturday, February 6th
Time: 1:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-8, 3-6)
Bad Guys: Texas Longhorns (15-7, 6-3)
Location: Frank Erwin Center | Austin, Texas
TV/Stream: Longhorn Network / WatchESPN
Radio/Stream: 93.7 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 7.3 / 2.6*
SHOOTING GUARD Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/205) 11.0 / 4.2
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 8.6 / 3.7
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 9.9 / 6.8
CENTER Matthew Temple (6-9/260) 3.1 / 1.9
SIXTH MAN Aaron Ross (6-8/225) 9.0 / 4.1
SEVENTH MAN Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 12.0 / 3.3
EIGHTH MAN Devon Thomas (6-0/170) 3.0 / 1.7*
POINT GUARD Isaiah Taylor (6-1/170) 15.4 / 5.0*
SHOOTING GUARD Javan Felix (5-11/195) 10.5 / 2.2*
SMALL FORWARD Kendal Yancy (6-3/200) 2.8 / 1.8
POWER FORWARD Connor Lammert (6-9/240) 6.8 / 5.6
CENTER Prince Ibeh (6-10/260) 3.9 / 5.0
SIXTH MAN Demarcus Holland (6-2/190) 3.2 / 1.7
SEVENTH MAN Eric Davis, Jr. (6-2/185) 8.1 / 2.5
EIGHTH MAN Shaquille Cleare (6-9/265) 3.1 / 2.7

* Assists.

1. KenPom has Texas playing really well (they are) as the 28th best KenPom team, 36th in adjusted offense and 37th in adjusted defense. That’s really balanced, something that hasn’t happened for Texas in quite some time. Texas Tech is the 59th best team according to KenPom, 88th in adjusted offense and 54th in adjusted defense.

2. Seriously, Texas is on a roll. After starting conference play 1-2, with losses to TCU and Texas Tech, the Longhorns won three straight, ISU, OSU and WVU, before losing to Kansas in Lawerence, and then ripped off three more wins against TCU, Vanderbilt and Baylor. Most of the wins are convincing in nature and they can play up-tempo (beating ISU 94-91) and then scrapping with teams (beating WVU 56-49). There never should have been any doubt that Shaka Smart would get Texas on track.

3. The last time these two teams met, Taylor nearly took over the game and won it for the Longhorns. Taylor scored 35 points, incluing 13 of 14 from the free throw line. Texas Tech didn’t have an answer for Taylor defensively, which is tough because I honestly think that Taylor could pretty much score at-will against most point guards. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Taylor attempt to take over early against Texas Tech, because he can and he could put Texas Tech in a really bad spot if he get some early fouls on Evans or any of the big men.

4. Against Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith elected to start Justin Gray over Devaugntah Williams, and this proved to be mostly inconsequential because neither Gray or Williams did a ton overall. Williams won the game, but they were both non-factors offensively. With Texas, they play smaller players, so it will be interesting to see if Smith continues to start Gray or if he’ll go back to Williams. I’d like to see what Gray could do against Yancy.  I think Smith needed to make the move and had it not been for the game-winning layup by Williams, he is still missing a ton of shots. He’s not getting his feet set and getting good looks from deep. Just seems rushed overall. Gray, on the other hand, needs to assert himself as “a guy” on the offensive end as he has too many qualities that are a tough match-up for opponents.

5. Head coach Tubby Smith said that the team definitely played better against Oklahoma State, better defensively:

“It’s a work in progress,” Smith said. “Anytime you coach any type of organization you know that you have to practice, practice, practice. The more you’re in those late-game situations you know you’ve got to have the ball in the right person’s hands. We’ve had a number of opportunities, but the one thing we did well was get defensive stops. We played much better defense, better than we did in our previous late-game losses. The guys believe now that if we get the stops, then we’ll have enough. Their spirits are up because when you win a game like that, everybody’s excited.”

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