After playing three games against tough mid-major opponents, tonight Texas faces Houston Baptist, a team that is a little less robust. Coach Ron Cottrell's team finished last year with a record of 14-17. The Huskies only game against a Division I opponent so far this season was an opening night 76-61 loss against Texas Tech.
This is Cottrell's 21st season as the Houston Baptist head coach. He was the man in charge when the Huskies made the move from the NAIA to the NCAA. After spending several seasons in the now defunct Great West Conference, Houston Baptist will begin its first year playing in the Southland.
Houston Baptist has considerably less talent than the last three Longhorn opponents. Guards Tyler Russell and Rob Lewis are the primary scoring options for the Huskies, while Marcel Smith is a pass-first point guard. Coach Cottrell will bring some size with him to the Erwin Center with a big man rotation of 6-8 Cody Joyce, 6-6 Dauson Womack, 6-7 Alex Fountain, and 6-11 Ricmonds Vilde.
Thankfully for those of us who are fans, Rick Barnes has scheduled very few cupcakes in what has been and will continue to be a compelling slate of non-conference opponents. But tonight's game will be the first one for the Longhorns against a team that is truly over-matched. Still, as anyone who watched the Longhorns lose to Chaminade last year will point out, Texas will still need to show up and play.
But if Texas does show up, and if the Longhorns make some shots, this game will be a nice opportunity to crack the 80 point barrier for the first time this season. (That barrier probably gets blown away a week from now when Texas faces the run-and-gun BYU Cougars.)
I think the Longhorns win this one comfortably, and think Ken Pomeroy's prediction of an 81-63 victory sounds reasonable.