Obviously, things have not gone quite right for the Texas Longhorns this season. We can put that aside for one night to celebrate a pretty significant accomplishment.
Rick Barnes is sitting on 599 career wins, and goes for victory six-hundy tonight against the TCU Horned Frogs. Whatever the result of his remaining tenure in Austin, Barnes has been an amazingly successful coach at Texas, and a nod to this upcoming milestone is richly deserved.
Texas stands in the midst of its easiest three-game stretch in conference play. The Longhorns eked out a road victory against a Marcus Foster-less Kansas State, and will host Texas Tech on Saturday. The game at present features a 1-9 TCU team that won all 13 non-conference games before finding out that sledding is tougher in the Big 12.
TCU added some talented players coming into the year, and I honestly thought they would post a better conference record than they have thus far. Even still, Texas more than has the capabilities to lose to this TCU team. Hopefully, this is the start of the Horns getting back on track: a three-game winning streak would get Texas back to .500 with a decent chance to finish 9-9 in the Big 12.
PG - Kyan Anderson (5' 11", 175 lb)
W - Trey Ziegler (6' 5", 200 lb)
W - Kenrich Williams (6' 7", 195 lb)
F - Chris Washburn (6' 8", 240 lb)
C - Karviar Shepherd (6' 10", 225 lb)
PG - Chauncey Collins (6' 0", 180 lb)
W - Brandon Parrish (6 '6", 185 lb)
W - Hudson Price (6' 6", 200 lb)
F - Amric Fields (6' 9", 225 lb)
C - Devonta Abron (6' 8", 255 lb)
Check out the Tjarks player write-up here.
Keys to the Game
1. Get in the zone - TCU's starters not named Kyan Anderson have combined to shoot 7-28 BTA this year. Can you play a 4-in offense? Because that's kind of what the Horned Frogs do. Texas deployed its 2-3 trapping zone in earnest starting with the first TCU game, and I expect Barnes to stick with it tonight. TCU would do well to counter with more minutes to Parrish and Price, two zonebusters shooting a combined 31-76 (40.8%) BTA this year.
2. Shooting confidence - Both Javan Felix and Jonathan Holmes remain questionable to play due to concussions (or as Al Michaels might say, due to brains). If Texas remains without its two most voluminous BTA shooters, this is as good a game as any to see if Demarcus Holland and Kendal Yancy can be higher usage players. Yancy just hit his first conference 3 against K-State, and Holland was a cool 4-4 against the Cowboys. In particular, it'd be nice if Holland realized he was shooting 15-32 (46.9%) BTA on the year, because the Horns desperately need someone to keep defenders honest.
3. Get easy buckets - Isaiah Taylor was still shaking off the rust in the initial matchup, but starting from that TCU game, Taylor has been getting more in rhythm despite the losses piling up. TCU's biggest (only?) strength is interior defense, thanks to length on the wings combined with girth inside. But Texas has big bodies, too. I'd like to see more of this motion offense of awesome name (amazing write-up by BON's Jeff Haley, btw), bringing TCU's bigs outside of their comfort zone and getting easy looks for Lammert/Turner on the perimeter and Turner/Ridley/Ibeh inside.
7 pm. LHN. Hook 'em.