Just a few additional thoughts on tonight's huge game. . .
- Watch to see how well Texas reverses the basketball tonight. The Aggies are a big, strong defensive team, but they're not especially quick (as Xerxes notes). I'm not even a little bit surprised that A&M's two conference losses are to Texas Tech; Bobby Knight's the only good offensive coach in the entire conference. For Texas to succeed tonight, they need to get away from just pounding away at the rim and use some ball movement to get open looks from different spots. It's just too taxing to try to bang away at the Aggies.
- The biggest mismatch in this game (aside from KD versus whoever's guarding him) is depth. The Aggies can, and do, run 8-10 guys out there, and even though some of the players in the rotation aren't much more than warm bodies, they still keep the important players fresh. It's not an accident that the Aggies more or less murder teams in the final 5-7 minutes. Their opponents run out of gas, and A&M cranks it up a notch. Texas went balls to the wall for 30 minutes of game time in the first matchup, and even had a brief second half lead. We were completely drained, though, for the stretch run, while the Aggies were ready to keep running.
- Because Texas isn't a deep team, Rick Barnes has to be smart tonight. I think it's great to push the tempo when the five starters (KD, Augustin, Abrams, James, Mason) are in, but it's not sustainable for 40 minutes. If Barnes is smart, he'll spell our key guys a bit by going to a Jumbo lineup and slowing things down. I want to see KD, Augustin, Atchley, James, and Dexter Pittman all in there together to slow things down. It's not like you can't get good scoring looks with that group on the floor, and you don't have to run with that group to create offense. See if Barnes tries this tonight.
- I think home court plays a big role tonight. Austin rather lamely supports the hoops team at times, but there hasn't been this much buzz around a game since the old Southwest Conference days when Nolan Richardson's Razorbacks would come to town. Throw in that this is probably KD's last home game, and people are positively electrified. I expect the Erwin Center to be positively rocking tonight.
- Last, a prediction, since I have to. AW sees a close loss tonight, but I've been bitten by the optimism bug. I think Texas plays two great halves and the Aggies struggle to score in the Erwin Center this evening. Horns win their sixth straight, 72-66. Leave your predictions below.