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Preview: Texas v. Texas Tech

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The Texas Longhorns travel to Lubbock on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Texas brings an overall record of 15-5 and a conference record of 5-1, while the Red Raiders are 4-2 in the conference and 15-6 overall. The game can be seen on ESPN2. Let's get to the numbers.

The Numbers:

Team K.P. Rank Off.Eff. Def.Eff. Points/Game Points Allowed Rebounds
Texas Tech 46 26 73 72.9 66.8 31.7
Texas 35 11 87 84.8 71.2 42.7

Players to Watch:

Player Rebounds Assists Points
Kevin Durant 11.0 1.6 24.4
A.J. Abrams 2.5 1.6 16.8
D.J. Augustin 2.9 6.9 13.4

Keys to the Game:

  1. Find Someone to Hold Durant: Here's the problem and it's the same problem that every team that Texas plays faces. If Knight goes with White or Prince against Durant then there's a better than zero chance that he merely takes them down low where his length would pose a serious problem in the post. If Knight chooses Suljagic or Dora then there's no way that Damir can keep pace with Durant from the perimeter. Dora has a better chance than most, but it's no guarantee that he gets any minutes. If it's me, I try Dora, White and Prince. Prince and White both have enough athleticism to at the very least keep up with Durant and Dora has the perimeter skills so that he's at the very least comfortable on the outside.
  2. Limit the Remainder of the Team: Texas has had a number of close games and much like Kansas, maybe Texas is due for another conference loss. Augustin, Mason and James have really struggled of late and I could see Knight employ the same tactic that he did against Kansas State. Let the guys who aren't shooting well shoot and make Durant and Abrams earn their points. Not having Burgess to pester Abrams hurts and I could see Knight going with LucQuente White and give him the sole responsibility of never leaving Abrams.
  3. Control the Boards: I know that I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but Tech has to do a better job of controlling the boards. Texas is # 3 nationally in rebounding and as you can tell from the numbers above, the Longhorns outrebound Tech by 11. Tech cannot allow Texas to dominate the boards and without Plefka to help, this has to be a collective effort.

Probable Starting Lineups:
Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders
Justin Mason, G, 6-2, Fr. / Martin Zeno, F, 6-5, Jr.
Damion James, G-F, 6-7, Fr. / Michael Prince, F, 6-7, So.
Kevin Durant, F, 6-9, Fr. / Darryl Dora, F, 6-9, Sr.
D.J. Augustin, G, 5-11, Fr. / Benny Valentine, G, 5-7, So.
A.J. Abrams, G, 5-10, So. / Jay Jackson, G, 6-1, Sr.

* The Legend: K.P. Rank = the Ken Pomery Rank; Offensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points scored per 100 possessions; Defensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points allowed per 100 possession.