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Open Game Day Thread: (3) Stanford vs. (2) Texas

#3 Stanford Cardinal (28-7, 13-5) vs. #2 Texas Longhorns (30-6, 13-3)

Friday, March 28, 2008 • 6:27 p.m. CT

Reliant Stadium (44,000) • Houston, TX

Television: CBS (Regional Coverage) Billy Packer and Jim Nantz

Radio: 98.1 FM / 1300 AM (Austin) / Westwood One (Nationally)

I've just arrived in Houston and am about to head down to Reliant. I've already seen lots of burnt orange in my hotel and can't wait to see the stands tonight.

To win, Texas must...:
1) Stay out of foul trouble. Connor Atchley, Gary Johnson, and Damion James must stay on the court tonight. If even one of them gets into early foul trouble and is forced to sit for extended minutes, Texas will be in trouble. Their effort on the defensive glas will be especially important. There is a chance that Alexis Wangmene, Clint Chapman, or Dexter Pittman will factor in the decision, but more likely, Texas will sink and swim with the post defense and rebounding of Atchley, Johnson, and James.

2) Get a strong shooting performance from AJ. If Abrams shoots like he did in Little Rock, Texas will march on. It's that simple.

3) Play multiple defenses well. In our tourney talk earlier this week, PB and I discussed how best to defend the Stanford big men. We quickly came to the conclusion that no one defense is going to work. Expect Barnes to play some man with quick double downs on the Lopez twins, to play some 2-3 zone with the interior packed tightly, and also play some full court pressure defense to increase the tempo and hopefully create some turnovers.

Sweet 16. Houston. Against a slow team. This is what we wanted. Time to prove it on the court.

Hook 'em!