Texas Game Preview

Texas Game Preview

News, notes and quotes on the biggest game of the year matching No. 8 Kansas against No. 19 Texas on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse on ESPNU, while believing the Jayhawks will be sky high after the Longhorns whipped Kansas, 81-69, in the previous meeting in Austin on Feb. 1.

News, notes and quotes on the biggest game of the year matching No. 8 Kansas against No. 19 Texas on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse on ESPNU, while believing the Jayhawks will be sky high after the Longhorns whipped Kansas, 81-69, in the previous meeting in Austin on Feb. 1.

After its 64-63 nailbiting win at TCU Tuesday, KU is 20-6 and 11-2 in the Big 12, two games ahead of Texas.

SCOUTING TEXAS

Texas (20-6, 9-4 Big 12), which has won two of its last three games, is coming off an 85-76 loss at Iowa State on Tuesday. The Longhorns are led by freshman guard Isaiah Taylor and junior forward Jonathan Holmes, who both average 13.1 points per game. Taylor leads the team with 97 assists while Holmes chips in 7.4 rebounds per game.

They're followed in scoring by sophomore guard Javan Felix (12.8 ppg), who's made a team-high 44 three-pointers. Sophomore center Cameron Ridley is next in scoring (10.8 ppg) while leading the Horns with 7.9 rebounds per game and 60 blocks. Sophomore guard Demarcus Holland is also a threat who averages 7.8 points and 5.0 rebounds while recording a team-best 32 steals.

Texas averages 76.9 points and allows 70.5. The Longhorns shoot 43.7 percent from the field, 33.4 percent from three-point range, and 67.5 percent at the charity stripe. They're holding opponents to 40.1 percent shooting (No. 2 in Big 12) and 33.9 percent from beyond the arc, while outrebounding foes 42.0 (No. 1 in Big 12) to 34.0. UT, which averages 28.5 free throw attempts per game, also averages 6.2 steals per game and a league-leading 6.1 blocks per contest.

Coach Rick Barnes is 378-161 in his 16th season at UT and 580-295 in his 27th season overall.

SELF ON TEXAS

KU coach Bill Self knows that beating Texas would give KU a three-game lead in the Big 12 race, and a loss would put UT only one game behind. But he's hungry to beat the Longhorns since they crushed KU the first time around.

"To me it's not even about the league race Saturday, it's about playing Texas and playing a team that's already handled us once, and one of the residual effects is that it's big for the league race, but also it's just an opportunity for us to try to play better against a team that smacked us around pretty good," Self said.

LAST TIME OUT

No. 25 UT ended KU's seven-game winning streak by manhandling the Jayhawks, 81-69, on Feb. 1 in Austin. The Longhorns exploded to a 38-23 lead at halftime, while KU outscored Texas by three points the last 20 minutes. UT's rugged frontline outrebounded KU 44-37 while the Longhorns shot 42.9 percent from the field to KU's 38.5 percent. The Jayhawks only managed 25.8 percent shooting the first half.

The Longhorns did damage at the charity stripe, hitting 30 of 45 to just 13 of 19 for Kansas. Andrew Wiggins fouled out in 30 minutes, scoring just seven points on 2 of 12 shooting. Wayne Selden was about KU's only bright spot, scoring 21 points on 8 of 16 field goal attempts.

Taylor led Texas with 23 points while Holmes added 22. Ridley was a force inside with nine points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, while Holland grabbed a game-high 11 boards.

Self looked back at that game.

"I thought they had us on our heels the whole time," Self said. "Their transition offense was better than our defense, and certainly our ball screen defense wasn't any good at all. (Taylor) did a good job. I thought he totally controlled the game.

"And then the other thing, we did such a bad job on the boards. Our ball screen defense and our defensive rebounding, to me, those were the two things that killed us as much as anything."

THE SERIES

Kansas leads the all-time series 22-8. KU has won four of the last five meetings and eight of the last 10 matchups, starting with the 2008 Big 12 Championship title game. KU and UT have met in four of the last seven Big 12 Championship title games with the Jayhawks winning all four times.

Kansas is 11-1 against Texas in games played in Lawrence, including 9-1 at Allen Fieldhouse. UT ended KU's 69-game homecourt winning streak on Jan. 22, 2011, its only win in Lawrence.

Self is 12-8 all time versus Texas, including 12-6 while at KU. Barnes is 7-16 all time against KU.

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