Friday, February 29, 2008

Keys to the Game: Texas v. Texas Tech

KEEP ON KEEPPING ON... Texas has won 8 in a row, and have been playing their best basketball since the early season wins against UCLA and Tennessee. It seems like a different player has stepped up each game and Texas has won in ever possible fashion. DJ has found his stroke again as he is averaging 23 points and shooting 53% from the field the last two games. Texas dominated Tech in their first matchup in Austin, as the Horns won 73-47. Texas has been playing even better than they were in the earlier matchup, so the Longhorns need to just keep pouring it on the falling Raiders.

KICK'EM WHILE THEIR DOWN... Texas Tech is coming in off a humiliating loss to Texas A&M on Wednesday. The Red Raiders were down by almost 40 most of the game and ended up losing 98-45. That's gotta hurt. Teams respond to games like this in one of two ways: Either they come out on fire and pull off an upset, or continue to be demoralized and let the season spiral downward. If Texas can come out and pound the Raiders early, they may not be able to muster up the will to put up a fight.

REST D.J.... This needs to be one of those games that Texas pulls out to a lead and lets Rick Barnes rest some of his starters. We all know that DJ has played almost every minute of the season, but even Justin Mason did not get to rest against Kansas State. I wouls love to see a heavy does of bench play in the 2nd half and give the Horns some much needed rest as the Big 12 tournament is fast approaching. For this to happen its all about the first half and getting out to a commanding lead. If Texas can go into the break up 15, DJ and Co maybe be resting the last 10 mins of the game.

NO TRAP GAME... I know, even in this article, I seem to be chalking up the Tech win as a foregone conclusion; but let's hope the team doesn't do the same. No game in the Big 12 is a gimme (just ask the last few teams that played Nebraska). While there is no reason Texas should come close to losing to Texas Tech, a #1 tourament seed is still on the line as is the out right Big 12 Championship. There is a lot to play for, and Texas Tech is never going to lay down for the Longhorns. Fight hard, hustle and play some defense and Texas should be walking out of Lubbock with a win.

PREDICTION: Texas 84, Texas Tech 70
Hopefully this is what the arena will look like by halftime...

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