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Texas Basketball Open Thread and Preview: Longhorns Host North Texas

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Game 06: North Texas Mean Green (1-3) vs Texas Longhorns (3-2)Tuesday, November 29, 2011 · 7:00 p.m. CT

Frank Erwin Center · Austin, TX

TV: LHN (Mark Followill & Reid Gettys) · Radio: 1300 AM / 98.1 FM

Ken Pom Projection: 86-62 Texas (70 Tempo)

The Longhorns return to the hardwood tonight to battle with North Texas, who have lost three straight but played both Texas Tech and Mississippi State fairly close on the road. The good news is that the Mean Green look unlikely to challenge for a win tonight, giving this young Texas team another opportunity to develop without picking up a costly loss.

North Texas is struggling in most aspects of the game, but their one asset is a legitimately strong one: their trio of young starting guards are long and athletic, attributes they are learning to put to use on the defensive end. The Mean Green start 6-2 freshman Chris Jones, 6-6 freshman Jordan Williams, and 6-4 sophomore Alzee Williams on the perimeter, and their length will provide a nice challenge for our guards. My hunch is tonight's the night we see Sheldon McClellan get the start over Julien Lewis -- McClellan's coming on strong, and the match up favors the longer wing.

A few more thoughts after the jump...

Unfortunately for North Texas, that's about all they have going for them. The Mean Green's best players are young, and their forwards are undersized, which makes them a lot like us, actually. Except Texas can shoot the ball. The Mean Green not so much, as they come in to tonight's game shooting a dismal 40% from two-point range and 27% from beyond the arc. And while UNT's young guards are using their length to create bunches of turnovers, their team defense has a long way to go.

The pace of this game should be more Rhode Island than Sam Houston, a tempo that I think benefits our young squad and our team strengths. Look for Texas to have a much crisper game on the offensive end tonight, and I like this match up as an opportunity for Myck Kabongo to have some success and get out of the little rut he's in right now. This match up shouldn't present us with a rebounding worry, and unless we're absolutely ice cold shooting the ball and repeatedly decline to get easy looks with penetration I like Texas to win this one going away. Call it Texas 88 North Texas 60.