Head coach Shaka Smart and his No. 17 Texas Longhorns will tip off against the Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. Central on ESPN with a berth in the 2020 Maui Invitational championship round on the line.
A late layup by Longhorns junior guard Courtney Ramey was enough to push Texas past Davidson on Monday. In the following game, Indiana throttled Providence in a 21-point victory.
Like the Longhorns, the Hoosiers feature a balanced scoring attack through the first two games as head coach Archie Miller seeks to return Indiana to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.
Leading the way is sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, a 6’9, 245-pounder who is averaging 19 points so far this season and will put pressure on a Longhorns defense that has struggled to defend without fouling this season, as Jackson-Davis is drawing fouls at a frequent rate.
Three other players are currently averaging in double digits and two more have scored eight or more points per game to open the season. Overall, it’s an efficient group in the early going, especially in limiting turnovers, but there are continued questions about whether the Hoosiers can provide credible threats from beyond the arc after shooting 32.5 percent from three-point range last season.
Senior guard Aljami Durham has started 4-for-10 shooting on three-pointers after converting at 38.3 percent last season, so Texas will have to force him to create off the dribble. Otherwise, junior guard Rob Phinisee is the only other Indiana player with multiple three-point makes through the first two games.
So Texas will have an opportunity to pack the paint and try to limit driving lanes for Indiana without assuming a high level of risk that the Hoosiers will make them pay from distance.
Defensively, Indiana has made it difficult for opponents to score from the perimeter, an understandable emphasis since making up those points isn’t easy for the Hoosiers on the offensive end. However, that emphasis has allowed for solid ball movement and a high assist rate for opponents.
That plays to a strength for Texas in the early going with the playmaking of senior guard Matt Coleman, who has 14 assists and only four turnovers so far. Against Davidson, Coleman had nine of the team’s 18 assists. Overall, the Longhorns assisted on two thirds of their made baskets against the Wildcats.
Kenpom.com expects a close game here — Texas is narrowly favored with a 53-percent win probability in a Tier A game for the Longhorns. Indiana isn’t currently ranked, but this is a chance for Texas to pick up an excellent non-conference win against a team that picked up 38 votes in Monday’s AP Top 25 poll.