Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Texas Game Preview

#10 Minnesota Golden Gophers (22-10) vs. #7 Texas Longhorns (22-11)

The whole season has been leading to this. Will the Gophers just be happy to make the tournament or will they strive for more? Regardless of the outcome this should be a good game with two great coaches and fairly equal teams. Here is Texas' resume:

Wins to Showcase:
  • Vs. Oklahoma 73-68
  • Vs. Villanova 67-58
Losses to Hide From:
  • at Arkansas 61-67
  • vs. Kansas State 81-85
  • Interior Defense: Average 42 rebounds a game 22nd in nation and 5.5 blocks a game for 10th best in nation.
  • Damion James: Averages 15.4 ppg and 9.2 rebounds. Here is a ferocious rebounder for someone who is only 6'7".
  • A.J Abrams: Averages 16.3 ppg while shooting 38.9% from behind the arc.
  • 3-pt shooting: Shoot 32.1% from behind the arc for 257th in the nation.
  • Free throw shooting: Shoot 67.1% from the line for 236th in the nation.
  • Ball Control: 12.5 turnovers per game for 283rd in the nation.
There should be an asterisk by the Oklahoma win as Blake Griffin went down in that game with a concussion. Texas might be our long lost twin. Trouble with ball control and outside shooting. Good rebounding team that blocks shots. They went into the Kohl Center and took a win from Wisconsin. They lost at home to Michigan State. They were once highly ranked only to come back to earth in conference play. Outside of Wisconsin struggled to win on the road losing to Arkansas and Nebraska. Looking at the Texas team there is a lot of Gophers in them.

Interesting Things to Watch
  • DJ vs. DJ: That is All-Defensive Team Damian Johnson versus All Big 12 second team Damion James. They are both 6'7" slashers who rebound. Damian Johnson needs to win this matchup while producing on the offensive end if the Gophers are going to have a chance.
  • Dexter Pittman vs. the Twin Towers: There has been a lot made of this matchup but it is justified. The Towers have struggled to this point against physical big men like Goran Sutton. With this team's inabliity to score from the outside, the Gophers aren't able to win if Iverson and Sampson can't get touches and points inside.

Texas and Minnesota play a very similar game and have similar faults. The difference is that once the shot clock is running down they have a guy who can take the shot in A.J. Abrams. They have the go to guy they can ride that the Gophers do not have. The Gophers will have to try to combat that with defensive intensity and depth. The biggest issue is that while Sampson and Iverson have grown and got tougher this year they are only freshman and having to guard Dexter Pittman on National Television is a tough task. This game should be close for the majority of the game but in the end an offensive drought somewhere in the game will be the Gophers undoing.

Texas 67, Gophers 62

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