After almost another full week off, the Texas Longhorns are back in action this afternoon at the Drum. Texas (6-2) and Texas State (4-5) hook up at 3 PM. The game will be televised in Texas by Fox Sports SW. The Horns are coming off their biggest win of the season over LSU on Sunday night, while the Bobcats have righted their ship winning three of their last four.
Today's contest marks the beginning of very winnable stretch of games for the Horns. Six of our next eight games are at home with trips to a solid Tennessee team and a terrible Colorado team mixed in. The Horns will be looking to capitalize on the confidence gained from the LSU win. March is not around the corner but conference season is. Hopefully the Horns can put together a long winning streak and head into Big 12 play as favorites.
Texas State is greatly improved from last season's 3-24 mark overall and only 1-15 in conference. They have already won more games this season than all of last year. Their competition hasn't been stellar though. The Bobcats lost by 25 points at Baylor in their only matchup with a team from a power conference.
Keys to the Game
As indicated previously this week, BON has identified four stats to watch each game.
1. More than 20 free throw attempts
Will the Horns continue to attack the basket or will they settle for the three pointer jumper against the zone?
2. Rebounding Margin Even or Positive
This one shouldn't be too much trouble. Texas State has only one player, starter and leading scorer Brandon Bush, over 6'7".
3. Assist/Turnover Margin Over 1.2
Both teams like to push the ball. This could be a really fun game to watch. Expect DJ Augustin to have another at eight assists as Texas scores in transition.
4. Field Goal % Defense Under 40%
The Horns have really clamped down on defense against inferior competition this year. If Texas comes out focused, achieving this goal shouldn't be a problem either.
5. Improved Post Play
Can Connor Atchley and Damion James put together back to back solid performances? Will Dexter Pittman play 15 minutes in what should be a blow out?
While Texas State is improved, this one shouldn't be close. Texas has the edge in talent and athleticism at every position. I'll predict Horns 94-68 in front of a sit on their hands crowd of about 5k on the second to last Saturday before Christmas.
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