Originally Published: Feb 24, 2010 5:11 PM CDT
So which team shows up tonight? For Texas, that is. Will it be the Longhorns who blitzed their first 17 opponents? Or the outfit that has struggled winning only 4 of the last 10 games?
It will be a slightly different squad with Dogus Balbay, Texas’ starting point guard lost for the season with a torn acl. There are those who think it will actually help, that the rotation is shorter for Rick Barnes, that freshman J’Covan Brown can now feel more freedom in running things. Balbay wasn’t an offensive threat. He knew how to distribute, but not how to score. His strength, though, is one the Cowboys might now take advantage of. Balbay’s second half defense on James Anderson in the first meeting was a major key in the Longhorns’ 72-60 victory.
OSU can’t bother with what Texas is or isn’t right now. At least not at the fundamental level. This Cowboy team is at its best when controlling the things they can control. They’ve made an awful lot of threes lately in winning games, but they’ve also done a better job of taking care of the ball, playing scrappy defense, and making more hustle plays than opponents. Those last 3 things have to remain consistent for Travis Ford’s team to have a chance tonight. The making shots thing is what could get them over the hump at the Erwin Center.
Texas loves to smother teams in its man to man defensive sets. If OSU can face that pressure, and attack it midway through the shot clock, the Cowboys will get open looks. If the pressure keeps the Pokes from getting into things, then the Longhorns will run away to an easy win.