Texas cruised to a season opening 89-56 win over Southern at home in the first round of the Guardian's Classic. The Horns' frontcourt dominated the scoring. LaMarcus Aldridge posted his second career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Brad Buckman scored 16 points and PJ Tucker added 18 points and seven rebounds.
This was obviously the first game of the regular season and at times it looked like it. Texas was sloppy with the ball committing 16 turnovers and only outrebounding the smaller Jaguars by eight. The Horns did shoot over 50% for much of the game and looked excellent on defense. Consistent on the ball pressure in the half and full court forced Southern into tough shots and 22 turnovers. Aldridge and Buckman patrolled the paint effectively blocking 12 shots while Texas guards snagged a dozen steals.
Overall, I would grade this game a B. Texas was never in danger of losing this game. Aldridge was especially impressive around the basket and Daniel Gibson played solidly on both ends. However, they never quite looked totally together. Substitutions disrupted the rhythm. Barnes frequently tried different lineups and chose to substitute often in an effort to save energy for tonight's game. No starter played more than 23 minutes. The Horns play again tonight against Samford in the second round. The three other host schools Kentucky, Iowa, and West Virginia, have already won two games each to advance to the semis in Kansas City next week. Texas should join them but will be tested. Samford runs the Princeton offense. It will be important for Texas to push the pace of the game, control the glass, limit easy baskets on back cuts to the hoop, and defend for the full thirty five seconds. A good, but not great start for the second ranked Horns.