Texas Longhorns Hoops vs. Kansas Jayhawks: Preview & Open Thread

Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Horns. Hawks.

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The Texas Longhorns (8-8, 0-3) and Kansas Jayhawks (15-1, 3-0) typically have spirited battles, but this one could be a one-sided bloodbath. Stop me if you've heard this before: Kansas is the Big 12 favorite, and a National Championship contender.

Their roster is basically what Rick Barnes aspires to create. There are four seniors in the starting lineup. Two of them, center Jeff Withey and wing Travis Releford, were top 50 recruits that redshirted earlier in their careers because Kansas had deep rosters. A third, point guard Elijah Johnson, was a former 5* recruit and is just now taking over at the 1 after the departure of All-American Tyshawn Taylor. Glue guy Kevin Young, a second-year transfer from Loyola Marymount, rounds out the quartet.

A strong supporting cast is only as good as its star, and freshman sensation Ben McLemore is a great one. McLemore is a 2011 graduate, and redshirted last year due to academic issues. This year, he's set the world on fire. A Player of the Year candidate, McLemore is averaging a team-high 16.4 PPG, shooting 43.5% from 3-pt range and 50.3% overall. He tweaked his ankle in KU's last win over Baylor, but is expected to play against Texas.

The Jayhawks' depth is so incredible that freshman forward Perry Ellis, a 2012 McDonald's All-American, plays just 14.5 MPG. Other notable freshmen like wing Andrew White and bruiser Jamari Traylor get only spot minutes. Center Landen Lucas, who picked Kansas over offers from schools like Arizona, Georgetown, and N.C. State, is redshirting.

Like Texas, Kansas has an outstanding defense. Teams are shooting just 36.0% from 2-pt range against KU, worst in the country. It helps that the Jayhawks are anchored by shotblocker extraordinare Jeff Withey. He's averaging an unreal 4.7 BPG, with a block percentage of 17.1%. Kansas is long at every position--their starting PG goes 6' 4"--and will bother the bejeesus out of a Texas team that is terrible at shooting.

Unfortunately for the Longhorns, Kansas can also score. McLemore gets the pub, but Releford's shooting percentages just miss the cut-off for the 50-40-90 club (62.1 / 41.9 / 88.5), and the rest of the starting line-up are high percentage shooters as well.

A Texas win would basically take a perfect storm. At the very least, it's a tilt against Kansas, and hopefully the crowd will show up. The Longhorns are expecting two high-profile visitors. 2013 SG Keith Frazier will be in town on an official visit, and 2014 SF Kelly Oubre will take an unofficial visit as well.

Hook 'em.

LINEUP

PROJECTED STARTERS

Texas: G - Javan Felix (#3 - Fr.) | G - Julien Lewis (#14 - So.) | F - Ioannis Papapetrou (#33 - Fr.) | F - Jonathan Holmes (#10 - So.) | F - Jaylen Bond (#5 - So.)

Kansas: G - Elijah Johnson (#15 - Sr.) | G - Ben McLemore (#23 - Fr.) | G - Travis Releford (#24 - Sr.) | F - Kevin Young (#40 - Sr.) | C - Jeff Withey (#5 - Sr.)

BENCH

Texas: G - DeMarcus Holland (#2 - Fr.) | G - Sheldon McClellan (#1 - So.) | F - Connor Lammert (#21 - Fr.) | C - Cameron Ridley (#55 - Fr.) | C - Prince Ibeh (#44 - Fr.)

Kansas: G - Naadir Tharpe (#1 - So.) | F - Andrew White III (#3 - Fr.) | F - Perry Ellis (#34 - Fr.) | F - Jamari Traylor (#31 - Fr.)

INJURIES/ISSUES

Texas: G - Myck Kabongo (#1 - So. - Out Until Feb - NCAA Eligibility)

Kansas: G - Ben McLemore (Limited - Ankle) | C - Landen Lucas (#33 - Fr. - Redshirt Season)

TEXASSPORTS.COM MEDIA/NOTES

TEXAS (8-8, 0-3)
vs. No. 4/4 Kansas (15-1, 3-0)

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 • 1 p.m. CT
Austin, Texas • Erwin Center (16,540)


TV: CBS
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Clark Kellogg (analyst).
Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network
Craig Way (play-by-play); Eddie Oran (analyst).
Satellite Radio: XM 202 / Sirius 216
Streaming Audio: TexasSports.com
Live Stats: GameTracker

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