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Getting to know: Texas basketball

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Texas head coach Shaka Smart reacts to a play during the second half on the team's NCAA college basketball game against Kansas in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. Texas won 73-63. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas head coach Shaka Smart reacts to a play during the second half on the team's NCAA college basketball game against Kansas in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. Texas won 73-63. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) by Associated Press

Fresh off a gritty road win, No. 6 Kansas might need a similar blueprint this weekend in Austin, Texas.

With Devon Dotson’s status still uncertain, the Jayhawks could have to replicate what they did in their 66-52 win at Oklahoma without their starting point guard. KU’s next opponent, Texas, figures to be a similar type of test as well.

The Longhorns, who have won two games in a row, are ranked No. 58 overall on KenPom. Oklahoma, for comparison, was listed at No. 52 on the latest team rankings. KenPom gives Kansas a 76% chance of victory, with a projected score of 67-59 in KU’s favor.

Like the rest of the Big 12, Texas (12-4, 2-2 Big 12) has to play well on the defensive end to have success. UT has held its first 16 opponents to an average of 60.9 points per game on a combined 40.4% clip from the field, including a 33.1% from beyond the arc.

The Longhorns are coming off wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State after falling to Baylor and Oklahoma to begin Big 12 play. Kansas (13-3, 3-1 Big 12), meanwhile, has only lost to BU through its first four conference outings.

Saturday’s contest marks the 43rd meeting between Texas and Kansas. The Jayhawks hold a 33-9 lead in the all-time series. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN, with Rich Hollenberg and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.

Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.

Log on to KUsports.com for our live game blog coverage and follow the KUsports.com staff on Twitter: @KUSports @mctait @bentonasmith, @SJacksonLJW & @ByBradenShaw

BREAKING DOWN TEXAS

TOP PLAYER

No. 2 — G Matt Coleman III | 6-2, 185, jr.

Leading the team in scoring with an average of 12.1 points per game is the junior guard.

Coleman is in his third year as the starting point guard. Coleman has played and started all 87 games in his three seasons at UT. He has reached double figures in scoring 44 times and topped the 20-point mark seven times.

Through the first 16 contests, Coleman leads the team in scoring (12.1 ppg), assists (4.4 apg), steals (27) and minutes (33.4 mpg) while adding 3.6 rebounds per game. He has converted 26-of-58 (.448) from three-point range.

For the year, Coleman has also registered a 70-to-33 (2.12 ratio) assist-to-turnover ratio. He ranks fifth in program history with a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.98.

None by Champions For Life

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 3 — G Courtney Ramey | 6-3, 185, so.

Ramey has emerged as a valuable weapon for the Longhorns.

Through the first 16 contests, Ramey ranks second on the team in scoring (11.3 ppg), assists (3.6 apg), rebounding (4.6 rpg) and steals (13) and is third on the team in minutes (30.6 mpg). He has played in 53 career games (33 starts) in his two seasons. He has reached double figures in scoring 30 times in his career.

Ramey has played even better as of late. In four Big 12 games, he has posted a team-best 12.5 points per contest thanks to a 47.6% (10-21) effort from three-point range.

None by Texas Men's Basketball

No. 20 — F Jericho Sims | 6-9, 240, jr.

It should be an intriguing battle between KU’s frontcourt and Sims this weekend.

So far this season, Sims leads the team in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and blocked shots (21) and ranks tied for third in steals (9) and fifth in scoring (9.1 ppg) while converting 67.4% (62-92) from the floor. All four of his double-doubles in his career have come this season.

This is the third year for Sims in the UT frontcourt, and he has played in 85 games (43 starts) in his career. He has reached double figures in scoring 17 times and in rebounds on eight different occasions. Sims is coming off a three-block performance in a win over Oklahoma State.

None by NCAA March Madness

MEET THE COACH

The Longhorns are coached by Shaka Smart, who is 83-70 in his fifth season at UT and 246-126 in his 11th season overall.

ONE THING TEXAS IS GOOD AT

Texas has done a good job at limiting easy baskets this season. Opposing teams are shooting just 43.3% on 2-point shots against UT, which is the 27th-best defensive clip in the country on KenPom.

ONE THING TEXAS IS BAD AT

The Longhorns won’t get a lot of production from the charity stripe. Texas is shooting just 64.3% from the free throw line, a number that ranks 320th in all of college basketball.

VEGAS SAYS

It is hard to commit to a prediction with Dotson’s status uncertain, especially with this current spread. Kansas is a 7.5-point favorite on FanDuel’s Sportsbook. I know KU just pulled off a gritty double-digit win in a similar test a few days ago, but I think things will be a bit tougher this time around. I’m taking the points, though Kansas ultimately wins a close one.

Prediction: Kansas 65, Texas 60

This year’s record ATS: 8-7

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