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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Texas Pt. 1

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The Longhorns come in with some beef after dropping their Big 12 opener.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Last Time Out

If Iowa State’s Big 12 opener 91-75 loss to Kansas State seems like it was a year ago that is because it was. Iowa State torched the nets in the first half on their way to scoring 50 points in the games first 20 minutes. That was a good thing. Kansas State ran through Iowa State’s defense like water through a strainer and the ‘Clones cooled off scoring only 25 in the second frame. That was a bad thing.

Missed free throws, turnovers and an appalling disinterest in playing an ounce of defense were the main culprits resulting in a nine-game winning streak abruptly coming to an end.

One can hope the Cyclones left those issues in 2017 and are ready to start 2018 with a more inspired effort.

About Texas

The Longhorns from Texas didn’t win their opener either but at least they didn’t get slaughtered like the Cyclones. Shaka Smart’s herd put up a respectable performance against Kansas, losing by only six on their home turf.

The young bull Mo Bamba lived up to the hype with 22 points and 15 rebounds. The 6’11” freshman is a freak of nature and will be the most talented player on the floor Monday evening.

Iowa State will have to loocowt for the Longhorns on the defensive end. Their “D” is udderly ridiculous. Texas blocks 17.8 percent of their opponents shots so it’s no cowincidence their defense is ranked 8th nationally in defensive efficiency. Iowa State will have to do most of their damage from behind the arc, while the ‘Horns will try to steer them inside.

If the ‘Horns had anyone that could hit the broad side of a barn on offense they would be an elite team.

They don’t.

Texas is one of the worst three point shooting teams in the country, shooting only 27.9 percent from three as a team. Now, if they get the open looks the Cyclones gave Kansas State on Friday evening, that number just might rise.

Smart’s crew takes pretty good care of the ball and will clean up on the boards.

The Texas Longhorns, known for their branding, have been patient with Shaka, but that patience won’t last for heifer.

Players to Watch

Mo Bamba will be one of the first players taken in the NBA Draft this spring. I wonder why.

He’s long, he’s strong and he’s down to get the friction on.

Bamba blocks 17.7% of opponent’s shots when he is on the floor good for 4th in the nation. Interesting anecdote: Cameron Lard blocks 17.3% of opponent’s shots when he is on the floor.

Dylan Osetkowski, a transfer from Tulane, averages 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. When he is paired with Bamba on the floor, rebounds are incredibly difficult to come by for opponents.

Andrew Jones (who is not the former Atlanta Brave) is one of the few Texas players that has had any reasonable success shooting the rock. Jones has taken 39 three pointers this year, connecting on 17 of them, good for 43.6%.

What to Expect

After Friday’s second half it would be easy to predict pain. Lots and lots of pain.

Texas is certainly talented, definitely more so than Iowa State but both teams have proven that anything is possible. The Longhorns are just a couple of weeks away from scoring 47 points against Tennessee State and the Cyclones are just one game removed from a nine-game winning streak. So, what is actually going to happen?

Now, I know you came here for a damn prediction so I’m going to give you a freaking prediction and its fueled by Busch Light and optimism.

Iowa State takes better care of the ball and Donovan Jackson is told the correct game time this week. Mo Bamba struggles early to get his hands on Jeff Beverly three point attempts while Matthew McConaughey’s pre-game pep talk yields ineffectiveness.

Iowa State- 68 Texas- 63

Pick Three

  1. Mo Bamba and Cameron Lard combine for 10 blocks
  2. Texas player sets career high
  3. Teammate of Texas player setting career high also sets career high

Game Notes

Game Time: Monday, January 1st, 6 PM

Line: Texas (-3), O/U 138.5

TV: ESPNU