After a week off, the #6 Texas men's basketball team will take the floor on Saturday at 1 PM at home against Tennessee. The Horns have had seven full days since we last saw them wandering aimlessly through the Meadowlands as JJ Redick hit three after three. ESPN.com currently has the Horns as a #2 seed in their Power 16 but also lists the Horns in the Bottom 10. Surprising, yes. Inaccurate, no.
BON has already detailed that loss extensively enough as we have the black jerseys. The Horns will be back to wearing our traditional burnt orange and white against the Vols. Tennessee comes into the game 5-0 (their best start since 2000-2001) with wins over East Tennessee State, Louisiana-Lafayette, E. Kentucky, Murray State, and Appalachian State. This is obviously not exactly Murderer's Row. And even though they are undefeated, the Vols did not receive a single vote in either the Coaches or the AP poll last week. Texas heads into the game riding a 33-game home court winning streak against non Big 12 opponents. Texas last played and beat Tennessee in the third place game in Maui 95-70 last November.
Tennessee is led by quick senior guard CJ Watson (17 ppg, 5.6 apg, 2.6 spg). Watson leads the team with a respectable 2.2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. In comparison, Daniel Gibson has a much less impressive 1.3 to 1 ratio. The Vols four other starters each average in double figures: sophomore guard Chris Lofton (17 ppg), junior center Major Wingate (12 points, 3 rebounds), senior forward Andre Patterson (12 points, 6 rebounds), and senior forward Stanley Asumnu (10.8 ppg). Both Watson (6'10" 250) and Patterson (6'7" 210) have the height and weight to bang inside. It will be fun to watch how successful Brad Buckman and Lamarcus Aldridge will be on the low blocks against players equal to their size.
Things to Watch
Will Daniel Gibson play effectively from the point guard spot against Watson? Will Barnes be forced to use AJ Abrams to handle to ball and send Kenton Paulino to the bench?
How healthy is Brad Buckman? Buckman played just seven minutes against Duke before suffering a calf injury. Buckman is currently listed as questionable.
Will PJ Tucker play point guard, play on the wing as the small forward, or play on the low blocks as the power forward where he is most effective?
Will Texas continue to outrebound their opponents and make more foul shots than their opponents attempt as we did with regularity before our meeting with Duke?
The game will be on ESPN for those of you not in Austin. If you live, work, or play in Austin, please go to the game. The Horns need our support. Don't allow me to sit your arena level seat because you are too lazy to show up.