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Texas tries to get back on track against High Point

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Following last weekend’s blowout loss in Rhode Island, head coach Shaka Smart’s team will have a chance to end the non-conference schedule on a high note.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Texas Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After a road trip that the Texas Longhorns would just as soon forget, the Horns return to the Erwin Center on Monday to close out the non-conference schedule against the High Point Panthers.

And while earlier opponents like Prairie View A&M and McNeese State have risen out of the 300s in KenPom.com’s adjusted efficiency metric, High Point has lingered near the bottom of Division I basketball, currently slotted as the No. 341 team nationally at 3-9.

So don’t expect to learn much about a Longhorns team that is now No. 61 in adjusted efficiency following the 22-point loss to the Friars, by far the lowest of the season. But it will be an opportunity for head coach Shaka Smart’s group to take care of business and get back on track before opening Big 12 play on Jan. 4 in Waco against Baylor.

To put it simply, High Point is a bad team that doesn’t do much well — the Panthers do collect offensive rebounds on a decent rate, get to the foul line, and block shots, but other than those areas, head coach Tubby Smith’s group struggles in virtually every other area.

The lack of experience is probably a driving factor — High Point ranks 337th out of 353 teams. The result is a poor offense that gives up turnovers at an incredible rate and struggles shooting the ball, particularly from two-point range. The defense allows opponents to an effective field-goal percentage of 57 percent thanks to an inability to defend the three-point line.

On offense, sophomore guard Curtis Holland leads the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game on 40-percent shooting from three-point range with freshman guard John-Michael Wright adding 13.5 points per game.

The game tips off at 7 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network. KenPom.com gives Texas a 98-percent probability of winning the game with a projected margin of 76-52.