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Kicking the Tires: Texas

Tonight, the #5/#5 Texas Longhorns will roll into Manhattan on a seven-game winning streak and take on the now-unranked K-State Wildcats.  Here are the basics about the Longhorns...

Opponent: Texas Longhorns
Record: 23-4 (10-2)
RPI: 5
Offensive Efficiency: 122.4 (1st)
Defensive Efficiency: 91.1 (31st)

Top Players
D.J. Augustin: 19.1 points per game, 5.96 assists per game, 1.15 steals per game
A.J. Abrams: 16.7 points per game, 1.48 steals per game
Damion James: 13.0 points per game, 10.6 rebounds per game, 46 percent three-point shooting

As you can see, Texas is incredibly efficient offensively.  In fact, the Longhorns are the most efficient team in the country.  We're certainly going to need to see the "good" K-State defense tonight, the one that has us ranked 11th in the country in Pomeroy's defensive efficiency rankings (87.1 points per 100 possessions).

One thing we saw way too much of against Baylor on Saturday is penetration by guards.  Baylor's guards are a very difficult matchup, as they force you to take away either the drive or the shot and then they try to beat you with whatever you don't choose.  D.J. Augustin is the problem tonight, and although he stands only 6'0" (maybe) tall, he is a big problem.  He can shoot the ball fairly well at 36 percent from the outside, and he's nearly unstoppable at penetrating to the hoop.

Although we won last year's game in Austin by pressuring the perimeter against Texas' undersized guards, that strategy has not worked too well lately this year.  Nebraska executed back-door cuts to perfection and picked up several easy layups, while Baylor was successful getting to the hoop against the Cats as well.  It may behoove Frank Martin to throw a few zone looks at Texas to see if they can handle it.  Especially if Dominique Sutton is getting closer to full strength (he played a few minutes in the first half against Baylor), I'd like to see him at the point of the 3-2 zone look we've shown.  Texas' inside game is not bad, but I'd rather make the Horns launch three-pointers than drive to the hoop for layups.

Finally, I should note the Longhorns play a relatively short bench, with only seven players averaging more than 10 minutes per game.  Augustin alone averages 37 minutes per game.  By contrast, the Cats have nine players averaging 12 minutes per game.  If we can pound the ball inside with Michael Beasley and Bill Walker and get the Texas front line in foul trouble, then we may have an advantage.

Of course, all that will be moot if our players not named Beasley and Walker can't make shots tonight.

If you're headed out to the game, don't forget it's a Smoke Out for the K-State Proud campaign.  I know they needed a different color from last year's Black Out, and the choice of name and the opponent makes me wonder if it may not be a reference to a famous UT Law School reject.  Probably not, but at least I thought it was good for a chuckle.

Let's hope Texas is all hat and no cattle tonight.

(All stats courtesy Ken Pomeroy.  Efficiency statistics calculated as number of points scored or points given up per 100 possessions.  Check out Pomeroy's site for more information.)