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Getting to know: Texas basketball

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Texas' Andrew Jones (1) is congratulated by teammates, including Greg Brown (4), after making a three-point basket against Oklahoma State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Austin, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Texas' Andrew Jones (1) is congratulated by teammates, including Greg Brown (4), after making a three-point basket against Oklahoma State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Austin, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) by Associated Press

It is time to really get into Big 12 play, as Kansas hosts Texas for a conference clash on Saturday. Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.

The first game of 2021 will pit two contenders for the league title against each other. Baylor is considered the favorite, but both KU and UT are expected to be in the mix. While much will change about the Big 12 race over the next eight weeks, a win on Saturday could be crucial for either team.

No. 3 Kansas has won eight in a row since falling to top-ranked Gonzaga in the season opener. The Jayhawks are 8-1 overall, which included a 2-0 clip in Big 12 action. They bested Texas Tech and West Virginia in December.

No. 8 Texas, meanwhile, returns to the court for the first time in 13 days after a 77-74 win in the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State. This will be just the second league outing for the Longhorns, who enter the weekend with a 7-1 overall record.

KenPom gives Kansas a 61% chance of victory against Texas. His system projects the Jayhawks to earn a 70-67 win over the Longhorns.

The game will be televised nationally by ESPN2. Dan Shulman (play by play) and Jay Bilas (analyst) will call the action.

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

BREAKING DOWN TEXAS

TOP PLAYER

No. 4 — F Greg Brown | 6-9, 205, fr.

Brown has really hit the ground running during his freshman campaign for the Longhorns.

Over the last three contests, Brown has averaged 19.7 points per game to go along with 8.7 rebounds per contest and 2.7 blocks per outing. He scored a career-high 24 points and collected 14 rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes of action against Oklahoma State.

For the season, Brown is averaging 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for UT. He ranks third in scoring and first in rebounding. Brown has taken 32.7% of Texas’ shots, which ranks 41st in the nation by an individual player.

Brown has reached double figures in scoring in six games and double digits in rebounds three times. Brown has recorded three double-doubles.

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 2 — G Matt Coleman III | 6-2, 180, sr.

Coleman is in his fourth year as the starting point guard for the Longhorns. He has played and started in 109 of a possible 110 games in his career.

So far this season, Coleman leads the team in scoring with an average of 13.9 points per game to go along with 4.5 assists per outing. Coleman also leads UT in minutes with an average of 35.9 minutes per game.

Entering this weekend, Coleman has converted 44% of his attempts from the floor and is knocking down 38.5% from long range. Last time out, Coleman scored 15 points and collected a career-best seven rebounds against Oklahoma State.

Coleman earned All-Big 12 third-team honors a season ago. He led Texas in scoring with an average of 12.7 points per game and posted a team-best 3.4 assists per contest as well.

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

The Longhorns have had a good start to the season because of Ramey’s emergence in the backcourt.

Through the first eight games, Ramey ranks second on the team in scoring with an average of 13.1 points per game. He is also second on the squad in assists with an average of 3.6 assists per contest. Ramey is shooting 42.9% from 3-point range, knocking down 15 of his 35 attempts from beyond the arc.

This type of production was really on display toward the end of last year though. During Texas’ five-game win streak late last season, Ramey averaged 15.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per outing. He was named to the All-Big 12 honorable mention team as a sophomore.

ONE THING TEXAS DOES WELL

At this point in the season, Texas really has a strong defense. The Longhorns rank fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency (88.0) on KenPom.

ONE AREA TEXAS STRUGGLES

The Longhorns have turned the ball over on 19.6% of their possessions this season, but their non-steal turnover rate of 12.4% rate ranks 263rd in all of college basketball.

MEET THE COACH

Texas is coached by Shaka Smart, who is 97-79 in his sixth year at UT and 260-135 in his 12th season overall.

VEGAS SAYS

Kansas is a 4.5-point favorite over Texas as of Friday evening, according to FanDuel’s Sportsbook. I picked KU to lose outright when it was a small home favorite last time out, and I won’t make that mistake again. That said, I do think Texas will cover the spread.

KU is 4-4 ATS so far this season.

Prediction: Kansas 74, Texas 70

Comments

Robert Brock 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Brown is talented but inexperienced. Matt Coleman is UT’s top player.

Dirk Medema 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Sounds like some D pressure could go a long way in this one. Transition O could then be significant as well.

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