#7 Texas (11-2) at Arkansas (11-1)
Bud Walton Arena (19,200)
Tip Time 8 pm
Austin American Statesman on the friendship between Texas freshman Varez Ward and Arkansas freshman Courtney Fortson
A few quick Keys to the Game:
1. Stay out of foul trouble. Arkansas is one of the best teams in the country (11th nationally) at getting to the free throw line. With Connor Atchley out tonight and Alexis Wangmene out for the season, the Texas frontline is really thin. Gary Johnson, Dexter Pittman, Clint Chapman, and Matt Hill must be able to stay on the floor for extended minutes. Look for Barnes to play Damion James at the four spot as well if matchups allow.
2. Get Back on D. This Texas team has struggled with transition defense in multiple games this season. The Razorbacks won't be afraid to push the basketball tonight in front of nearly 20,000 loud, Texas hatin' fans. Justin Mason and Dogus Balbay must recognize when they can crash the offensive glass and when their assignment is to retreat and protect against easy fast break buckets.
3. Play Inside-Out on Offense. The 'Horns are so much more dangerous when Dexter Pittman or Johnson get a touch in the post. Texas should lean on Pittman early, make the Arkansas defense collapse, and, hopefully, allow AJ Abrams and Damion James some open looks from three.
4. Make Free Throws. This is going to be a key in every road game the rest of the season. The Longhorns are not an efficient enough team on offense to leave points at the line. If tonight is as close as I expect, the 'Horns' ability to make free throws down the stretch could be the difference.