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Preview: Texas Tech v. Texas

The Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-10; 6-6) v. the Texas Longhorns (19-7, 9-3)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 @ 8:00 p.m.

Television: ESPN Plus
  • Lubbock, Dish Network: Channel 144
  • Lubbock, Suddenlink Cable: Channel 6
  • Dallas: Channel 21

The Numbers:

Team K.P. Rank Off.Eff. Def.Eff. Points/Game Points Allowed Rebounds
Texas Tech 53 27 89 73.3 68.7 31.5
Texas 30 7 78 82.8 71.5 40.7

Players to Watch Not Named Kevin Durant:

Player Rebounds Assists Points
A.J. Abrams 2.5 1.7 15.1
D.J. Augustin 2.7 6.7 14.3
Damion James 6.7 0.9 7.2

The last time that Tech and UT met my three keys to the game were to: (1) Find Someone to Hold Durant, (2) Limit the Remainder of the Team, and (3) Control the Boards. For the most part Tech accomplished those goals. What I didn't expect was for Kevin Durant to have a career game.

Keys to the Game:

  1. Slow Down the Offense: Texas is so solid offensively and the last game against Tech was really an aberration. The Longhorns are at their best when they have folks involved not named Kevin Durant. Augustin is averaging 21 points a game over his last 4 games. The scary part, is that Durant's only averaged 21.5 points over the same 4 game stretch. Durant's due for a big game. So, what's the best defense against a great offense? Great offense. Tech needs to control the clock and make Durant and Company work on defense. I think the same thing worked against A&M and I think it will work here too.
  2. Continue to Feed Jackson and Zeno: Jackson's a lot like Stella, he's got his groove back, and it's at just the right time. Jackson's been really good since the Nebraska game where he figured out that he's fully capable of scoring in this offense, but his ability to score is directly related to how hard he works on the offensive end. In addition, Zeno's been his normal and outstanding self. He's Tech's most complete player, and so long as he continues to drive the baseline and take advantage of his ridiculous athleticism then he and Tech will be just fine.
  3. Continue to Play Aggressive Perimeter Defense: I think that Tech is at it's best when Burgess, Zeno and Jackson are aggressive defensively and challenge the opponents perimeter players. Against A&M, Law was good but he certainly didn't beat Tech. Against OSU, Curry was good, but it was Bogan who beat Tech. Tech has done a decent job of limiting the opponents' perimeter players. Tech should concentrate on limiting Augustin's drives to the baskets and Abrams ability to hit the open shot. Not to mention, Texas is good inside because of Durant, but not because they have a dominating post presence. And despite Atchley's decent game against Baylor, I wouldn't expect a repeat performance from him.

Probable Starting Lineups:
Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders
Damion James, F, 6-7, Fr. / Martin Zeno, F, 6-5, Jr.
Justin Mason, G, 6-2, Fr. / Decensae White, F, 6-6, Fr.
Kevin Durant, F, 6-9, Fr. / Jon Plefka, F, 6-9, Sr.
D.J. Augustin, G, 5-11, Fr. / Charlie Burgess, G, 6-1, Jr.
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.