The Longhorns (8-3) are back in action tonight after a brief four day long Christmas break following the frustrating loss at Tennessee on Saturday. The Horns will take on Centenary (5-7) at 7 PM at the Erwin Center. The game will be televised by Fox Sports SW in Texas only.
Including this one, four of the Horns' next five games will be at home with the only road game coming at lackluster Colorado. Texas should cruise to wins in their next five before embarking on a tough three game road trip: at #14 Oklahoma State, at Villanova, and at Nebraska. With those three waiting in mid-January, taking care of business at home and against inferior opponents becomes extremely important.
The Gents have already passed their win total from all of last season. While improved, Centenary is still 0-4 on the road this season and has been absolutely hammered against good competition. They lost by 34 points at Texas Tech in early December and by 40 points at Georgia Tech just a week later. Their seven losses haven't all come against teams from power conferences though. Centenary also lost by 28 points to SMU at home. Needless to say, this one shouldn't be close. In their last matchup in 2004, the Horns won handily, 97-52.
The Gents are young, deep, and small. Of their top nine players, three are freshman and four are sophomores. Centenary has nine players averaging at least 10 minutes per game but no one on their roster is over 6'8". Their starting frontline is 6'5", 6'6", and 6'7". Texas should have no trouble controlling the boards in this one.
Centenary has three starters averaging in double figures led by sophomore guard Tyrone Hamilton (6'1" 200). Hamilton leads the team in both points and assists with 15 ppg and 3.8 apg. He is coming off a 27 point and six assist performance in their last game.
Centenary By the Numbers
Their stats actually indicate a team with a worse record. Centenary is allowing opponents to shoot 49.5% from the floor and 41% from behind the arc, getting outrebounded by over six boards per game, and averaging over 17 turnovers per game. Basically they can't stop anyone, don't rebound the ball effectively because of their size, and as a team have more turnovers than assists. If Texas doesn't win by 20+, I'm going to be upset.
Objectives for the Horns:
- Execute better in the half court and feed our post players religiously.
- More patience and better shot selection from AJ Abrams.
- Flashes of touch near the basket from Damion James.
- Continued aggressiveness and productivity from Connor Atchley.
- Better body control and balance from Dexter Pittman for at least 15 minutes of action.