Date: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2003
Time: approx. 9 p.m. EST
Location: Madison Square Garden (19,763), New York, NY
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman/Dick Vitale)
Texas at a glance
Coach: Rick Barnes
Location: Austin, TX
Starters Returning: 4
2002-03 Record:26-7 (13-3)
Conference: Big 12
Post Season: Final Four
Last Meeting: Arizona defeated Texas 73-70 at McKale Center. Arizona leads the series 7-2.
LAST TIME OUT:
Arizona hung on to beat Saint Louis 78-77 when Reggie Bryant's last second shot was ruled a two, not a three-pointer. Texas beat Wofford 103-72.
OVERVIEW: Texas may miss T.J. Ford, but they have everything else. They are both big and athletic. The frontline could give the Wildcats their biggest challenge. Without Isaiah Fox, the Wildcats have no one to bang with James Thomas, Brad Buckman and Brian Boddicker. Thomas had his way with the Wildcats last season and it will be interesting if the Wildcats have any answer this time around. Expect the Longhorns to harass Channing Frye all night. Saint Louis made him a non-factor by triple-teaming the Wildcat big man.
Life without Ford has been smooth so far. Royal Ivey and JC transfer Edgar Moreno have picked up the slack. Ivey has seen more time but that could change if Moreno maintains his amazing 6:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Longhorns have great depth, something Arizona does not. 10 players average at least 13 minutes a game. Texas wants to wear down the Wildcats, who will primarily use a six-man rotation.
Texas is one of the few teams as athletic as Arizona, and the Longhorns also have the height. Texas has five perimeter players between 6-3 and 6-5 and all can run the floor.
As a team, Texas shoots nearly 50 percent from the floor (.498), posts a +20 rebound advantage and outscores the opposition by an average of 38.8 points per game. Only Wofford managed to shoot 40 percent against Texas (.406) so far this season.
TEXAS' STRENGTHS: The Longhorns are deep in the post and deep overall, two things the Wildcats lack. They are one of the few teams who can even consider running with the Wildcats.
TEXAS' WEAKNESSES: Texas has lost to the Wildcat seven straight years. No player on the roster has ever beaten a Wildcat team. The Longhorns have not played anyone of merit. Their four wins are against Brown, Sam Houston State, Centenary and Wofford. They have put up gaudy numbers against those four small schools, but can they get consistent shooting against the first talented team they have faced.
BEST PLAYERS: Brandon Mouton is averaging 16.7 ppg on 50% shooting and 46% three-point shooting. Brad Buckman is almost averaging a double-double with 11.3 ppg and 9.3 rpg.
Frye is more talented...
but Thomas is the type of player that gives him fits
Buckman and Boddicker could give Adams trouble with their size.
Iguodala is the better all-around player.
Stoudamire is great if the shooting slump is over.
Mouton is the best scorer the Longhorns have
With Shakur struggling, the tandem of Ivey and Moreno get the nod
OUTLOOK: This is a rough match-up for Arizona. Texas has a rare combination of speed, athleticism and a tough front line. The Longhorns are one of the few teams who can think about running with Arizona and will surely try to exploit the Wildcats' lack of size inside. This is a great test for Arizona to see just how good they really are.
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