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Longhorns Open with Austin Peay in Little Rock

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#15 Austin Peay (24-10, 16-4) vs. #2 Texas Longhorns (28-6, 13-3)

Friday, March 21, 2008 • 2:00 p.m. CT

Alltel Center (16,060) • Little Rock, AR

Television: CBS (regionally)

Radio: 98.1 FM / 1300 AM (Austin)

Keys to the Game:

1) Control the glass on both ends. All five Austin Peay Governors stand 6-5 or less. There is no reason why Texas should not totally dominate on the boards. Connor Atchley and Damion James should both have double digits in rebounds by game’s end.

2) Get AJ going early. In our BON roundtable before the Big XII tourney, we all chimed in on who we thought was the most important Longhorn besides DJ Augustin. I took Connor Atchley but after watching the Horns struggle and then roll based on AJ Abrams’ ability to knock down the three-ball, I’m close to changing my mind. Austin Peay is a very good three-point shooting team, but due to their lack of size, also struggle to defend the three on the other end. If the Governors due do get hot, it will be important to answer their makes with some AJ or Connor threes.

3) Keep the crowd quiet by protecting the ball. The Longhorns earned a ‘protected seed’ based on their quality regular season but that protection will not be obvious when Texas takes the floor later today. Not only are the ‘Horns playing in Little Rock but Rick Barnes stirred the pot with his joke earlier this week about how Arkansas fans better be nice to his club. If Texas starts slowly, is sloppy with the basketball, or Austin Peay is able to knock down a couple of early threes, the crowd could quickly become a factor.  It won’t be just the Hog fans that will be cheering for the upset but every other fan in the stands without a Longhorn connection. Look no further than last night in Washington DC, where Belmont had plenty of fan support against #2 Duke. Texas needs to start quickly, end this early, and get out of the Alltel Center as fast as possible.

For what it’s worth, Pomeroy’s numbers predict an 82-60 Longhorn victory and Vegas has Texas as 15.5 point favorites. Preview on Austin Peay’s Drake Reed Preview

If you're not hyped yet, check this out, via CatLab. Many BON thanks.